Sooner or later we're going to have a down quarter. If you'd asked me the odds in 1985 that we'd make it more than five years from the IPO without blowing a single quarter, I'd have said ``no better than one in twenty.'' It is an absolute miracle that we've been able to maintain our unbroken streak in the face of late product introductions, hardware lock crises, stop-ship orders, and all the other individual tribulations that disappear into the totals on the financial statement.
However, we have operated so far in an expanding economy. If the economy turns down, our dealer channel begins to encounter severe problems, or we're forced to cut our price to maintain market share, our unbroken streak will come to an end. This is inevitable, and is virtually certain in a serious recession.
While failing to meet expectations for a quarter might seem trivial alongside the other dire circumstances in this gallery, it will have a detrimental effect on morale at the very time when morale and sound judgement are most important. The currently-circulating jokes about Oracle demonstrate how rapidly a company can go from darling to dogshit. If Autodesk appears headed for a bad quarter, it is important that the company, the analysts, and the shareholders be prepared for the aftermath so that one piece of bad news doesn't end up contributing to more.