CAD Drafting Software and AutoCAD: Strange Writing on the Wall

By: Lucky Balaraman

About Autodesk and AutoCAD

For many years now, the CAD drafting software industry has been dominated by the a single piece of outstanding software: AutoCAD.AutoCAD is a CAD platform designed by Autodesk, Inc, and arguably the most-used (and most respected) program of its kind. AutoCAD is used to make a computer draw two and three-dimensional technical drawings such as those used in building construction and product manufacturing.AutoCAD has been steadily evolving over the years to be seamlessly compatible with the rest of the software universe. For instance, in its latest version, drafting team members scattered over the globe can collaborate effortlessly over the Internet.

AutoCAD and Competition

In the domain of 2D and 3D drafting, AutoCAD is miles ahead of any competition. Rival programs have less than 50% of its drafting commands.

Most importantly, competing platforms hang when file size exceeds a few megabytes, often corrupting the data file in the process.For many years, Autodesk exploited the technical superiority of AutoCAD by charging in excess of $3,000 for a single-seat license. The product was so good that users are known to have taken bank loans to purchase sufficient licenses.

Recent Events

Strange things have happened recently:(1) Autodesk purchased Alias, a company specialized in, among other things, high-end animation software, ‘Maya’ being its flagship platform in that area(2) Autodesk crashed the price of AutoCAD by EIGHTY PERCENT in Asia (3) AutoCAD has begun downplaying AutoCAD 2D usage in its press releases

What do These Events Foretell?

We strongly believe that AutoCAD will lower the priority of its 2D CAD drafting software development. Instead, it will devote more resources to animation software development.Animation is used by two main market segments: their existing architectural/engineering customer base and the media/entertainment segment.Our intuition tells us that Autodesk has got the heady scent of cash wafting in from the future, and that the source of the fragrance is the second segment: media/entertainment. The potential profits from this area are likely to be several times those from the first segment and Autodesk will, in effect, soon be moving from downtown San Francisco to a premium spot in heaven.

What Does This Imply For the Cad Drafting Marketplace?

Expect Autodesk to be less and less interested in 2D drafting and to at one point make its sophisticated 2D drafting application, AutoCAD-LT… AVAILABLE FOR FREE.

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