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Feb 02, 2009


Jimmy Bergmark - JTB World

"Designing cars"? So much for stock analysts.

Milind Nalgirkar

By ANSYS he means ALGOR I presume?

Matt Stachoni

Rafael's comments have some merit - the 'designing cars' flub excepted - but I disagree that Autodesk's customers currently have low bargaining power.

Historically this has perhaps been true. But in today's mainstream CAD world, customer power has never been greater.

This year I predict that revenue from Autodesk's cash cow - Subscription - is going to severely dry up as customers come to realize that paying their "Autodesk tax" for more and more disruptive yearly upgrades are simply unsustainable.

The annual corporate costs of implementing new releases - testing, deploying, fixing, updating, uninstalling and reinstalling the software - for what incremental gains they are seeing are taking their toll, and today's design firms simply do not have the financial stomach or patience for it any longer.

The 2009 releases showed in perfect detail how yearly release cycles really benefit no one, as we continue to suffer with half-baked UI changes, unfixed broken features, and increasing performance sluggishness even on the fastest, newest hardware.

The upcoming 2010 release presents a perfect storm situation, because on top of whatever else is new/odd/half-baked/needs fixed, it will most likely introduce a new DWG file format. This just throws another monkey wrench into communicating design with consultants and clients using DWG files.

And Autodesk is not helping matters, as their Draconian subscription pricing policies financially punish firms moving from standalone to network licensing, or trying to cross-grade from AutoCAD Architecture to Revit. As if learning new software is not expensive enough, you need to tack on added costs just for the privilege of moving sideways.

And, when it comes right down to it, design firms would normally rather keep people employed and the lights on rather than upgrade their software. No one is actually losing business because their version of AutoCAD is a release or three behind.

In short, design firms are getting very tired of yearly releases which do not deliver any net goods. Customers have a very loud voice - expect to really hear it this year.

Tony Tanzillo

"Wide Moat" ?

It looks more like Monopoly defined, if you ask me.

Sachin Nalawade

It should have been ....being limited to skyscrapers...". But nowadays, "organizations around the world employ Autodesk's software to ... design cars"
or might be confused with Autodesk and Dassault Systemes as both companies can be said wide economic moat!

Len Rafuse

For those doing 2D designs, there are good alternatives to AutoCAD at a fraction of the cost.

We use the Bricscad 8 version of Intellicad for nearly all of our CAD needs. We have one version of AutoCAD 2005 installed just in case but we rarely need to use it.

The upgrade for all 4 of our Bricscad copies was less than the single upgrade for AutoCAD.

So lets see...

NEW ENTRANTS - They are already here in the form of Intellicad and Sketch Up

SUBSTITUTIONS - I know we have done this. And I know several architects that are using sketch up rather than more complicated 3D packages.

BARGAINING POWER - Sure small companies like mine have none but what if Genereal Electric says it will convert half their seats to a rival product. I suspect they would instantly get a much better price from AutoDesk.

SUPPLIERS - I have no idea about this.

RIVALRY - Sure we use Bricscad, our consultants use CMS - none of us are using AutoCAD for our drawings. And competition is a good thing, isn't it?

I think their analysis is flawed. The companies "Moat" is very small right now.

Patrick Berry

"By ANSYS he means ALGOR I presume?"

No, he probably meant Ansys. Ansys provides the slimmed down FEA package used in Inventor Pro. With Inventor's much wider distribution and the large number of alternative FEA providers, this puts Ansys in a weak negotiating position compared to Autodesk.

Michael Kolster

Rafael obviously needs to do some more research.

Their largest competitor, Bentley, has over 300 products that cover much wider design requirements and vertical industries and many of these are superior to Autodesk solutions.

Autodesk now makes their product compatible with Bentley as well.

Not sure how the "advantage over pricier solutions" was compared but one of the reasons we recently switched to Bentley was due to the cost savings. Again, he needs to do his research.

Maybe the "Wide Moat" is the distance between perception and reality in this article.

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