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Generic Software Acquisition

On March 7, 1989, Autodesk announced the acquisition of Generic Software and the integration of the Generic CADD product line into the Autodesk product family. This was the almost inevitable consequence of Autodesk's failure to promote AutoSketch in the U.S. market (in Europe, where AutoSketch was taken seriously, Generic CADD failed to gain the market share leadership position it achieved in the domestic market), and of Autodesk's failure to field a credible product in the entry-level two-dimensional drafting market, as suggested five years earlier in the “AutoCAD Lite” proposal (see page [Ref]).

This acquisition was a contentious issue at the last Autodesk Board of Directors meeting I attended in February 1989. Malcolm Davies, who argued vehemently in favour of this acquisition responded to my question, “Why won't this fail, like all of Autodesk's previous acquisitions” with the assertion “Because I won't let it fail.” Let history judge.[Footnote]

March 7, 1989
For Immediate Release


SAUSALITO, Calif.—Autodesk, Inc. announced that it has signed a letter of intent to purchase privately-held Generic Software Inc. The acquisition is scheduled to be finalized within the next 30 days.

Autodesk's AutoCAD® product is the industry standard computer-aided design (CAD) software; it is in use at more sites worldwide than any other CAD product. Generic Software, a market leader in low-cost CAD software, and Autodesk together would have a combined installed base of almost 500,000 users.

“We plan to have Generic Software continue operations out of its Bothell, Washington, location,” said Alvar Green, Autodesk's president. “The company has been very successful with its products and its current organizational structure and we see no reason to tamper with that success.” According to Green, Bob Fulton, Generic Software president, will retain his management responsibilities at Generic.[Footnote]

Expressing his support for the acquisition, Fulton stated, “this is a winning combination which will lead to new opportunities for Generic's products, particularly in the international marketplace where Autodesk has a well-established reseller network.” Autodesk's Authorized Dealer network will now have the opportunity to carry Generic products, while Generic's existing distribution channels will remain fundamentally unchanged.

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