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Never since our company was formed has the immediate future of the economic and political system within which Autodesk operates been so uncertain. Credible, rational alternatives for the next several years range from global peace and prosperity as democracy and free markets sweep the globe to financial panic, economic collapse, and World War IV. Whatever may come, Autodesk is well-prepared. We have the financial strength to withstand hard times, the cautious and prudent approach to risk taking needed to protect that strength, a commanding position in an enduring market that is central to industrial development, and the international and industrial diversification to mitigate localised or sector-specific downturns.

What Autodesk must do to survive difficult economic times is largely the same things we do to take advantage of periods of rapid growth--making the best products and providing the best service to our customers. Considering the recommendations in this paper and implementing those judged to be wise should further insulate Autodesk from unpleasant surprises and allow us to remain focused on the truly important things. The principles that have brought Autodesk the strength to face the future with equanimity will guide us through that future to even greater success.

Editor: John Walker