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The Game Has Changed Again

It is my belief that AutoCAD as a product, and Autodesk as a company, is poised to lose its market leadership in precisely this manner. Further, I believe this event is overdue and that Autodesk is living on borrowed time provided only by the absence, as yet, of an effective competitive attack aimed at Autodesk's true weaknesses--one coherent with the emerging characteristics of the software market. Today Autodesk is king of the mountain, but it is poised precariously, waiting to be pushed off by any company that seizes the opportunity and acts decisively. One of the largest unappreciated factors in Autodesk's success has been the poor strategy and half-hearted, incompetent execution that characterised most of our competitors in the past. But betting the future of our company on this continuing for another decade is foolish, a needless prescription for disaster.

During the years when AutoCAD pioneered the market for PC CAD, Autodesk constantly innovated in means of distribution, support, training, promotion, applications--every aspect that contributed to the present success of AutoCAD. Today, Autodesk seems frozen in the past, as if the clock stopped sometime in 1987 or 1988. There seems a cargo-cult-like belief that merely going through the motions that worked so well before will guarantee similar success in the future. But we did those things because they were right for the market several years ago, not today. The game is changing again, and Autodesk shows no signs of adapting to the newly emerging era.

Editor: John Walker