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Mar 07, 2008


Jimmy Bergmark - JTB World

"Stand-alone AutoCAD", how about network licenses of AutoCAD, or are they included?


How many copies of AutoCAD electrical? We have an old copy of Via Wiring Diagram (which still works great for us), and at the time it was clearly the best AutoCAD-based wiring schematic program.


"Stand-alone" means AutoCAD without a vertical, such as Architecture or Civil 3D.

Nevertheless, you raise an interesting question: how does Autodesk account for network licenses?

(And why is the issue of "number of seats" never straight-forward?!)

Edwin Muirhead

Those are interesting facts + questions about Autocad seats... I'm working to "clean up" a whole bunch of Autocad seats - and it's no easy task, even Autodesk employees are struggling...

Devon T. Sowell

It appears the key word here is 'installations'. I really shouldn't care, but I just don't flat out believe the Inventor number (775,000). Why? As previously mentioned, here in San Diego County, California, I've yet to meet a single Inventor user since 1999.



I wonder how many of those Inventor installations are really people who just use Mechanical Desktop and Mechanical.

Ragnar Thor Mikkelsen

Strange :-)
"All" our Inventor customers also install MDT.
Most of our customers actually use AutoCAD mechanical. A large number also install Inventor, but spend more time in Mechanical.

Greg Milliken

I also agree that the Autodesk installed base numbers are suspect, for Inventor at least.

At Alibre we have contact with a very large sample of the market, many thousands per month register and indicate the system they use.

As one would expect, those who indicate they use AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT represent the largest group. SolidWorks users by far represent the largest segment of 3D users. No other system would account for more than a small blip on the radar screen. The distribution is so skewed that it's just not plausible that this many people are using Inventor.

Those inclined to believe these numbers might say this is because only SolidWorks users are looking at alternative solutions. Or possibly that this massive base of Inventor users are a secret society that keep to themselves. I'll leave to others to decide why they think this is.

It is possible that the total combination of downloads and CDs would be this high. My conclusion is that there is just a lot of people still buying AutoCAD, over 40,000 per quarter, and there has been a lot of "creative" bundling and special upgrade offers that have inflated these Inventor installed base numbers.

It's not without precedent. When I was at Autodesk the company acquired a small solid modeling company and released a product called AutoSolid as a standalone product with limited AutoCAD interoperability. This product sold a total of about 500 copies after a year or more, and that with all Autodesk's reseller channel and marketing might behind it.

Then one day the founder John Walker went off on his own and later emerged like Dr. Frankenstein with his creation: a version of AutoSolid that was awkwardly integrated within AutoCAD and christened AME -- the "Advanced Modeling Extension" was alive! We all first saw it in a hastily created home video of Walker proudly showing off his new creation. The awkwardness of the integration was not due to any shortcoming of Walker, he was a master programmer, but due to the AutoCAD architecture and database that wasn't even fully 3D. AME was based on a Rube Goldberg-like construction of AutoCAD blocks with extended entity data and so on, and was a tour de force to simply bring the thing to life. This work was one of the first steps that ultimately led to MDT, but I digress. My point was really that once AME existed it was bundled with AutoCAD for an extra $500, znd sometimes for free, just for buying AutoCAD. And guess what? Suddenly "sales" of AME skyrocketed.

I contend that this same dynamic has driven the profileration of Inventor "installations."

If Autodesk can use Inventor as an incentive to get an extra thousand dollars, or even a few hundred, by encouraging someone to get on subscription, or to upgrade to the latest version of AutoCAD, then good for them. I don't really fault them for that, sticking with their strength is a good strategy for them. However, that is different than what is required of other vendors who must earn each sale based solely on the merits of their 3D value proposition.

Limey Frog

A few questions,

1. Why is Autodesk one of the fastest growing CAD companies in the world?
2. Why are they one of the most profitable? (they are publicly traded, look at the financials)
3. How does Autodesk afford all of their recent acquisitions?
4. In what format is the vast majority of the worlds CAD data?
5. Is their a hint of bitterness in some of these posts from 'former Autodesk employees'?

Think about it.

Solidworks makes a great product, but the world is not going to give up on 2D. Inventor is just as good a parametric modeling package and independent studies have proven that Inventor has a better workflow.

Inventor allows users to leverage legacy DWG data and move into the world of 3D. Solidworks claims that they have full DWG compatability, but that is a myth. ANY translator loses data in the translation.

Autodesk offers a suite of software that Dassault can not even come close to. They offer a complete solution, have solutions for multiple disciplines and continue to add to their line up through R&D and acquisitions.

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