The beginnings

Autodesk's core program is AutoCAD. It was developed in the early 1980s with just 16 employees. In 1982, version 1.0 was released.

At that time, AutoCAD was still in its infancy, but consistently relied on DOS, which turned out to be a fortunate decision and paved the way to the masses. At that time, however, this was anything but foreseeable.

Fateful version

Step by step, more functions were added and only with version 13 did the company break away from DOS. This version was a fate version for AutoCAD and thus for Autodesk. Too many big innovations were wanted at once. One changed from DOS to Windows, introduced ObjectARX and with this many new modules and wishes. This version was not finished on schedule. One decided to deliver, instead of deleting and reworkIt was released before it could be finalized. This turned out to be a momentous mistake. The inferior quality and the numerous crashes led to the loss of numerous users and companies who switched to other CAD systems.

Back on track

For R14, internally called Sedona, things were to be different. The 120 developers in San Raphael were joined by almost as many testers in the 2nd second building complex. It was calculated from the loss of sales with AutoCAD and the known error rate that each crash error cost the company $1 million. Several homegrown test systems were introduced, and an error database documented all embarrassments. At the same time, Daugh, the last co-founder of the company, retired.

R14 was a success and with R15 they officially said goodbye to version numbers (except internally) and published AutoCAD 2000.

Product range

Today, the program AutoCAD is no longer the drawing card it once was, although it provides the substructure for some vertical products, such as AutoCAD Architecture, AutoCAD Civil 3D and others.

Periodically, companies are bought up to expand the product range, as was the case with Kinetix (3D Max), Visual Lisp, Revit and many others. But also to get rid of competition and to place own products better in the market. This also allows one to remove the competition and place their own products on the market. One example is Kompass for version management, where the weaker Vault has now also made its way into Germany.

One of the last better acquisitions was Revit. While sales picked up very slowly, you can now seriously compete with Nemetschek's Allplan in 3D modeling.

For AutoCAD LT, there is the very goodsuperb alternative BricsCAD from Bricsys. But also, ZWCAD, MegaCAD and many other CAD systems have their place in the CAD market and will hopefully keep itremain there for a long time.

Clear line is missing

Where does the way go? At the moment it is not known and there is a lot of experimentation. A clear line is not recognizable. Autodesk is too driven by its shareholders. With its last licensing models, it scared off users and partners.

Our experience

The founder of Cadida Software GmbH was involved in the development of AutoCAD R14 and R15 in San Raffael and Alameda. The test system Chameleon, ISM (Raster Image), True Color and the renderer were in his area of responsibility and he introduced OMT, the precursor of UML to the company. Meanwhile, this is one CAD system of many that Cadida is developing for. Find out for yourself what we are doing today.