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