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Number One

As 1985 wore on, it became clear that we were on the verge of achieving our goal of having the largest installed base of any CAD company. I wrote this copy in March, 1985 to define a campaign around our large installed base. In modified form, this copy was used in a full-page advertisement and in our “Number One” company brochure. This was written with the intent of being used with the Apollo 17 full-Earth picture, and that's what we ended up doing.

This is the original draft of the copy, which is a little more hard-hitting than what finally ran.

Number One

by John Walker
March, 1985

In November 1982 we introduced AutoCAD, the computer-aided design and drafting program for personal computers, and said that AutoCAD would become the standard for CAD worldwide.

By March, 1985, we have shipped more than 17,000 copies of AutoCAD, making it the most widely installed and used computer aided design system in the world; micro, mini, or mainframe.

When we developed AutoCAD, we believed that the personal computer would rapidly become the core of the engineering workstation—a general purpose tool which assists the engineer, architect, designer, or drafter in all aspects of their work. We believed that AutoCAD could deliver mainframe CAD power as an essential part of this workstation. We believed that we could bring mainframe CAD to the personal computer without giving up the features and capacity which are the key reasons to use CAD in the first place. We believed that by making our system a fully open architecture and assisting others who wanted to build products around AutoCAD, hundreds of vertical market applications would be developed by those who shared our belief in the potentials of this market.

Very few of the traditional CAD vendors took us seriously. They looked upon the personal computer as something which might be able to do word processing or pie charts, but not serious design. They believed that if CAD was done at all on the PC, it would be done with limited-functionality programs for specific applications, “serious, general purpose CAD will always remain the province of the mini and mainframe”.

We were right. They were wrong. Now they take us very seriously indeed.

And well they should. More than 17,000 users have already discovered that they can do serious, professional design work on the personal computers they already own. More than 1,000 dealers, systems houses, and OEMs worldwide have discovered that computer aided design isn't an esoteric product for the Fortune 500, but an everyday tool as fundamental to people who draw as a word processor for people who write.

Our strategy to make AutoCAD the standard is working, and our commitment to this strategy is expanding. AutoCAD is continually being expanded and upgraded; our next upgrade will provide 3D visualisation, curve fitting, and a macro programming capability.[Footnote] AutoCAD runs on over 31 personal computers, with more being released on a continuing basis. Vertical market applications such as AE/CADD, the professional design tool for architects, add to AutoCAD specific solutions for design professionals. CAD/camera, our expert-system based auto-vectorising system converts paper drawings to CAD automatically, and at $3,000, costs less than 5% the price of competitive systems. Our AutoCAD to mainframe translators allow integrating AutoCAD with large scale CAD systems including CADAM, Intergraph, and Computervision. And AutoCAD is available in French, German, Swedish, and Italian editions, with Spanish and Japanese scheduled for release soon.

If you design as part of your work, or draw, or your company designs or draws, you owe it to yourself to see what has made AutoCAD the CAD standard in so few months. If you own a personal computer, you already own the most expensive part of a professional CAD system. Just by adding the $2,500 AutoCAD software, you can immediately share the benefits that owners of million dollar CAD systems have been enjoying for over a decade.

AutoCAD. Number one—for a lot of very good reasons.

Apollo 17 Full Earth

Apollo 17 full Earth image by NASA: public domain.

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