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Long term investments
Way back in the mid-80s when I entered the CAD
industry, there was no clear market leader and no
industry standard drawing format. The big players
in the market were AutoCAD, VersaCAD and
Companies who were looking for CAD on a
personal computer not only had to evaluate the
technical merits of the software, but they also had to
evaluate the long-term prospects of the company to
which they were about to commit money and
As a techie, I personally wasn’t concerned that
much with the longevity or compatibility issues. I
was more interested in seeing how far I could push
the software using AutoLISP programs.
But after over 10 years in this industry, I have seen
the incredible headaches experienced by companies
who went with software other than AutoCAD.
· Companies who standardized on different
software constantly had to translate drawings to
an AutoCAD format, often losing drawing
integrity and intelligence in the process.
· New recruits always had AutoCAD experience
but no experience in other CAD software, so
they had to go through time-consuming
· Add-on software written by third party
companies sprang up all over the place, giving
AutoCAD users a wide range of custom
applications from which to choose -- a selection
that was never even approached by the third
party developers of the other software.
And those companies that selected the competitive
software because of a couple of technical reasons
were soon to find that Autodesk added those same
features, plus more, into the next release of the
I mention this because of a couple of recent
developments. First, Autodesk has acquired the
market leader in A/E/C add-on software for
AutoCAD -- Softdesk -- confirming the security of
those who made an investment in Softdesk’s
industry leading civil, architectural and imaging
software. Secondly, similar competitive wars are
occurring in the mechanical marketplace with
Mechanical Desktop as occurred with AutoCAD
10 years ago. Remember that your software
platform is a long term investment!