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Autodesk confronts an uncertain future

After this litany of dismaying facts, we can comfort ourselves with the knowledge that Autodesk could scarcely be in a stronger position to face whatever tomorrow may bring. Below I'll discuss specific recommendations for actions Autodesk should take to prepare for and react to the various contingencies I've discussed. What surprised me most in performing this analysis was how little any of these recommendations have to do with any particular view of the future. In no way do these recommendations constitute a ``bet on bad times.'' In fact, the most important thing of all is that regardless of what happens, Autodesk must remain focused on the most important aspects of its business: developing the best products, making them widely available at prices people can afford, innovating in distribution, support, and training, making the funds we commit to promotion go as far as possible, and preserving the financial strength that allows us to take a long term view of the market and our position within it.

Worse than any specific blunder would be for Autodesk, in the aftermath of a downturn in sales and profits brought about by a contracting economy as opposed to any errors on our part, to start flailing around with gimmicks and lose the confidence of our many constituencies. The higher the seas, the more important is the need for a steady hand on the tiller.

Many of the recommendations I discuss below have been raised before, and some may already be in various stages of implementation. I believe that even if an unexpected burst of prosperity startles everybody and the dark clouds fade away, Autodesk will be better able to cope with good times once these policies are in place.

Editor: John Walker