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Q&A with Autodesk’s Carl Bass

Friday, December 4th, 2009

Carl Bass outlined the advantages of web-based computing in a Q&A session with the press on Tuesday at AU:

1) Project Twitch can run computers within a computerized data center. The user is experiencing a desktop application, and he describes it as “a really really long monitor cable.”

2) Side by side two people can co-edit simultaneously. A native application actually manages data on a server, with multiple people accessing it, and the client is just a browser. Software is designed from the ground up and deployed that way.

Project Dragonfly similar to the co-editing in that it’s native, written for the web, and deployed on servers.

“One places an opportunity for all of us to use the computing power that’s avialable for a web based model, for peak demand loading, for rendering animation and simulation and analysis,” Bass pointed out. “What if you could run a hundred Moldflow applications and the whole thing takes an hour?”

Bass said within three to five years, we will all be running variants of this and most software will be deployed this way.

Apple Mac – Bass pointed to the rising market share of the Mac, and the fact that they see a lot of Apple hardware running Microsoft. Also there are more Macs in entertainment than anything else. At one point Autodesk stopped developing AutoCAD for the Mac because there wasn’t enough user interest.

Most people have no idea that there is so much 3D in AutoCAD. The other 3D products from Autodesk have some other conceptural model underlying them. AutoCAD LT is strictly a 2D documentation system. Bass also talked about offering products at four different price points: Sketch, AutoCAD LT, AutoCAD and Project Cooper.

He said the market is changing, manufacturing is picking up faster and media and entertainment is also picking up. AEC is trailing because it will take longer for the construction business to recover.

He mentioned that about 6,000 people attended the physical AU and 16,000 people attended online. He also said he thought there would always be a reason to hold a physical conference.

Bass said relative marketshare for Autodesk in AEC was approximately 50%, manufacturing 35%. Autodesk has reduced the number of individual products by a third, and has moved a number of products together into suites.

When asked about interoperability, Bass said, “The way people work today they have less need for interoperability, but we will exchange file formats with anybody. They’re adequately served, and many companies are investing in translators.”

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