Khari Johnson of Business 2.0 magazine writes about 3-D software gets real. The story is not new for those of us in the CAD industry: design something in 3D, build it, and it works better and takes less time to produce.
But one point of comparison didn't quite work out:
Companies like Dassault Systems were first to the stage, offering industrial-strength programs that were expensive (a single copy of Dassault's CATIA cost $19,000 in 1998) and hard to use.
Not only does Autodesk's $5,300 Inventor software cost a fraction of earlier programs, but it's packed with convenient features and is considerably easier to use.
A better comparison would have been with Dassault's direct competitor to Inventor, SolidWorks, which is similar in price, feature set, and usability. In any case, some versions of CATIA still cost in the neighborhood of $20,000 a copy today in 2007, as do competitors UGS NX and PTC Pro/E.
Inventor can't really be compared with CATIA, because CATIA is used to design entire aircraft, which Inventor cannot do -- just as a small shop wouldn't buy CATIA to design bike frames. Business 2.0 compared something like Honda minivan with a Freightliner tractor-tailor unit: different purposes, different prices.