Commentary: Autodesk's Robert "Buzz" Kross Talks Strategy for Inventor Series

by Ira Breskin

Robert "Buzz" Kross, vice president of Autodesk's Manufacturing division, spoke recently to MCADCafe regarding the Autodesk Inventor Series

Kross declined last week during a telephone interview to translate new software licenses into revenue growth projections for the division that last year posted $130.2 million in sales. However, he stressed that much of Autodesk's MCAD license revenue growth comes from users of AutoCAD, the company's popular 2D design software, upgrading to the Inventor Series product that was released earlier this year. This bundled package, which costs approximately $5,000 per licensee, consists of the latest version of AutoCAD, as well as Inventor.

Essentially, these users are paying less than $1000 more for the bundled package than for the stand-alone AutoCAD software. In turn, Autodesk likes the bundled Inventor Series because it provides the company's valued added resellers, its primary distributors, a popular higher-margin product, Kross says.

Unlike several of its competitors, Autodesk plans to remain a best-of-breed MCAD player, not joining EDS-PLM Solutions and IBM/Dassault Systemes in offering a complete PLM line that includes product data management and factory simulation software, Kross says.

At the same time, Autodesk does appear to be supporting links to commonly used PDM and ERP systems. For example, about six months ago Autodesk introduced an interface, for which it charges a slight premium, linking Inventor to SAP AG's R3, a popular enterprise resource planning software used by many medium and large size manufacturers. Links for AutoCAD and AutoCAD Mechanical are also available. Developed in partnership with SAP, these links are sold and supported by SAP.

Ira Breskin, a freelance editor/writer specializing in business and technology issues, is a frequent contributor to Business Week, Newsday, and the New York Times. He holds a B.A. from Columbia University and a Knight-Bagehot Fellowship in Economics and Business Journalism, Columbia University Business School. He may be reached at Email Contact.

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See also:

Autodesk Introduces the Autodesk Inventor Series (January 30, 2002)

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