The opening argument has all the right elements for being the call-to-arms for Autodesk development. It is aggressive, suggesting at a violent confrontation with our competitors on the high end, with a victory for Autodesk guaranteed after the battle is done. It discredits their way of life and promises a drastic, but deserved, fate for the turnkey vendors, a result consistent historically with what Autodesk has done to its competition in desktop CAD.
Not surprisingly, this argument seems to be accepted within Autodesk almost without argument, representing, in some sense, the default position concerning the future of AutoCAD in the CAD/CAM industry. It takes for granted that the only differences between the turnkey world and the world of desktop CAD are technological. It assumes that as more and more power accrues to the user of desktop CAD, and as we at Autodesk begin to add more and more technology to our system, the differences between turnkey CAD and desktop CAD, both perceived and real, will diminish, resulting in desktop systems offering essentially everything which the turnkey vendors can, but doing it in a more cost-effective way.
A simple-minded extrapolation of AutoCAD, based on our continually increasing its technical content, appears to cause it, at some point in the not-too-distant future, to be positioned directly against the high-end vendors. This simple extrapolation hints that history may repeat itself, causing a future AutoCAD, chock full of powerful technology, to become the product of choice for all CAD users, as they leave the turnkey vendors en masse for a cheaper, better solution.
This argument is exactly what investment analysts and industry consultants want to hear. It promises increasing market share, continued quarterly dividends, greater and greater margins, and an earnings per share which increase off the charts. It is music to their ears, and they react in predictable ways, helping to send our stock higher and higher. That's where the real action is, at the high end of CAD/CAM, isn't it? Is it?
Editor: John Walker