AutoShade, which started out as a simple interface to rendering software to be provided by Visual Engineering, and ended as an in-house product which consumed on the order of a man-year of senior development manpower, was shipped in September 1987 to provide a shaded rendering capability to AutoCAD users. At the time of its introduction, it was the first rendering product for AutoCAD models, and having sold more than 5,000 units to date, it is clearly the market leader.
After the shipment of the product, it was abandoned by the software development department. Until recently, when one developer on his own initiative ceased work on AutoCAD to enhance AutoShade, essentially no resources were assigned to enhance the product to capitalise on its head start and strong sales, which have ranged from $30,000 to $90,000 per month since introduction of the product. All of the weaknesses cited in the Marketing/Sales Plan except for its dependence of 3D in AutoCAD, an inherent weakness of any shaded rendering product, and the fact that it is separate from AutoCAD (an opportunity for us in the future which is not available to any competitor), are purely consequences of the abandonment of the ongoing development of the product.