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Jan 04, 2006



I think that this has been well recognized as it pretains to AutoCAD over at the Autodesk disscussuin groups. The tie-in/locked-in (?)n use of .Net for example. That said, and as I have said before, I think Microsoft have have an opportunity to sell more copies of windows - to Mac (intel) users. Not as an alternate OS install, but bundeled with VirtualPC - IntelMac version. The speed of native processor execution, perhap even with the Window app runing in a Mac window ( as versus, at present with VPC7, running in a window in a window) Of course, the cleaver programs at Redmond will still make it so that you will still need Windows 'virtually installed' - cleaver chaps they are.

So, as you say "tear up those Architosh petitions", Bill is going to sell you a copy of Windows, and Carol an copy of AutoCAD. Like Having Your Mac and Eating Windows too - so-to-speak


this topic caught my attention today so i thought i would throw my 2 cents in. from a professional perspective i agree and as a consultant i have recommended autodesk software for years. however from a personal perspective - and i would be curious about your readers as well - i would whole heartedly embrace a mac version of autodesk(and discreet for that matter) products. on a daily basis every other piece of software that i use already runs on a mac and many run better. MS Office, Adobe Photoshop, Macromedia Dreamweaver, Quark Xpress, @Last SketchUp, Alias Maya. what else do you need as a designer/cad guy? and then there always is ArchiCad and Vectorworks for us closet moonlight mac cad guy diehards ...


Perhaps you forgot about UNIX and Linux running Pro/E - or perhaps you never knew. It has for awhile and as a CAD platform it is very signifigant in the marketplace. It plays in the SWKS, SE, and Inventor price range. Of course it also runs in Windows XP, 2000.

Anthony Frausto

Ralph, I think your idea here is interesting but I would like to point out a few missing pieces that readers need to be aware of:

1. The lower cost OSs and support that CAD vendors get for embracing a "lock-in" strategy doesn't really help them if their chief rivals also get the same deal. How valuable is free .Net support if your main competitor also gets it?

2. Lock-in is actually very different than "Stickiness" if you take that term from Malcom Gladwell's seminal book The Tipping Point. The most sticky aspect of Windows is, in my mind, compatibility. People stick to Windows because so many aspects of the IT world are "compatible" with Windows. In this way, CAD programs like ACAD fit into the stickiness definition.

3. A function of stickiness in the CAD world too is also compatibility (DWG) but an even more powerful force of stickiness is "laziness" , people cheer for that which they already know.

Anthony Frausto

Other thoughts...

One of the more powerful things Apple has learned in recent years might be called the Pepsi vs Coke Challenge Effect. Back when Apple nearly died Apple was struggling to just get the glass filled. The press, analysts, and just plain old people, would claim that there was no point (saying, don't even pour it) because the company was going to die.

Fast forward several years and Apple Stores in malls and iPods and iTunes are allowing people to actually do a self-test of the old Pepsi vs Coke challenge without the peanut gallery behind them. The results are speaking for themselves. People are finding they like Apple and the Mac better.

Realizing this, Apple is now fully confident that if they allow Windows and the Mac to sit on the same box, people will not only test them both out, but many will choose Mac OS X because they prefer it. What evidence you say? The evidence is already in front of us: iTunes. Most iTunes users are Windows users and they have to go and actually download that app to use it (Billy Boy isn't going to drop it on the Windows desktop anytime soon).

In many ways iTunes is a micro-version of the whole OS (X). And the more that is true the more that helps Apple.

There are many factors driving people to Apple hardware (iPod, et al). And Apple can't do anything about Windows "lock-in" deals. But what they can do now is create a true Pepsi vs Coke Challenge box (that to some die-hard geeks represents the ultimate computer (one that runs all OSs)) and allows people to continue to find reasons to stay on the Mac side of the experience.

Once enough of them do, those customers will start demanding those once Windows-only apps be ported over, otherwise they will test native Mac equivalents (something Autodesk certainly doesn't want its users to do).

This will be a long process but there is clear evidence it is well underway.

Paul Sweet

What about ArchiCad and Vector Works?

Some people simply continue to amaze me. Having just read Malcolm Gladwell's latest book, Blink, wherein he discusses some of the actual history of the Pepsi Challenge, my comments above seem all the more pertinent. In Blink, Gladwell distinguishes the difference between a "sip" versus drinking the whole can of soda. The importance is that Pepsi engineered their soda to win easily in a sip test, but people don't buy soda to take just a sip, they drink the whole can. As a result, Pepsi's marketshare never exceeded Coca Cola's once everyone figured this out. Gladwell does a brilliant job of flushing out the nuances and lessons in the short history of the Pepsi Challenge, an event that seriously rattled Coca Cola Corporation.

Taking those lessons, what Apple has done now that Macs run Intel processors is setup a type of Pepsi Challenge for computers -- right there in their Apple Stores. If Apple has devised a "sip" test prior to running Windows, they now offer their customers what Coca Cola ultimately did, the chance to take a "take home" test. This is what ultimately reassured the famous cola company, realizing that a sip is no measure of what it is like to drink the whole can.

But in this Apple will win even further, because using Mac OS X Leopard in a "take-home" test will only further dramatise the inferiority of Windows (XP or Vista).

If the 20th century marketing lesson was: product = product + packing (again, see Blink) we understand why Apple has been winning. If the 21st century marketing lesson is: product = product + packaging + experience, then again, Apple with their stores are going to continue to win, as their stores further explore the dimensions of what "experience" means in electronic retail.

Who cares what deals have been made in the CAD world? Nobody who walks into an Apple Store knows about this or even cares. What is happening in those stores will determine what happens in the CAD world tomorrow.

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Who cares what deals have been made in the CAD world? Nobody who walks into an Apple Store knows about this or even cares. What is happening in those stores will determine what happens in the CAD world tomorrow.

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