Rafael Garcia of stock analyst firm Morningstar declares Autodesk "a certain software company that possesses what we call a wide economic moat, or a superb competitive advantage."
He borrows a List of Five from Michael Porter:
Low Threat of New Entrants - "To compete, rivals have to make their products compatible with Autodesk's software."
Low Threat of Substitution - "Autodesk's wide range of solutions places the company at an advantage against other CAD providers because its solutions are more likely to cover the different design requirements of multielement projects or entire vertical industries."
Low Bargaining Power of Buyers - "We believe that the highly fragmented nature of the company's customers minimizes their collective bargaining power against the firm."
Low Bargaining Power of Suppliers - "Although Autodesk licenses certain simulation technology for some of its products from Ansys, we believe this provider has little advantage against the company." [Opps: Autodesk bought Ansys.]
Rivalry Among Current Competitors - "We believe that Autodesk's product prices represent an advantage over the pricier solutions of its competitors."
How reliable is Mr Garcia's analysis? He says that many of us think of Autodesk's software as "...being limited to designing cars...". But nowadays, "organizations around the world employ Autodesk's software to design ... skyscrapers." Makes me wonder whether he is confusing Autodesk with Dassault Systemes.
You'll want to read the details at A Wide-Moat Firm That Thrives on Complexity.