The pitfall of CAM as a Partner

With the purchase of HSMWorks I have to wonder if this will begin some sort of acquisition effort by Solidworks and Solidedge. I don’t think as a percentage of customers that the loss of HSMWorks was all that big of a deal financially to Solidworks. But it does affect every CAM user out there that relies on an integrated CAM program that is not owned by their CAD company and it is a big deal to them.

Autodesk has proven that last week with this HSM event that absolutely no one had ever dreamed of. SW,SE, you have been given notice. Whatever you thought was safe and an asset you could point to is not unless you control it outright. VARS found that out to as basically they were told a day later if there was an Autodesk VAR in their geographical region they were toast. I figure that means every one of them. I also figure it means SW style HSMWorks user support has ended as how can those who have no comprehensive SW/HSM background, experience or training provide this?

I want to quote from a post over at the official Autodesk HSMWorks forum a comment by an Autodesk guy. Now as far as I can tell this is a VAR employee which kind of indicates the quality of support SW/HSM users will get. My main point in bringing this up is because Autodesk cares so little for the opinions of the HSMWorks users whose world they have just wrecked that they allow this stuff to be there.

Jerry, I can see that you are one of those guys that can’t be reached…Someone went and moved your cheeses. Boo Hoo! You’ve resorted to spreading you vitriol all over this post. You also assumed that I have no experience in industry besides being in sales. On most points, you have been wrong! I have owned a manufacturing company for twenty years, and began my CAD journey with pencil and paper. I’ve lived through the DOS years (Ugh!), and stepped up to Solidworks, and Inventor. I also understand that they are just tools. I have also spent many thousands on software programs, only to see them discontinued, or the companies sold (Try investing in a 90s MRP system, and you will know what I mean). The fact is that you have no idea what the future of the software is, yet you throw out your doom and gloom like a monkey slings its own feces. I deal with the other companies that Autodesk has purchased on a weekly basis, and know firsthand that they have not only grown in their capability, but that it was the best thing that could ever happen for the companies and the customers. Better product. Bigger budgets for programming, and new markets. You obviously have the time to sling mud at Autodesk, but it has gotten to the point where it is just offensive. It serves no purpose but to make you look foolish. Dassault and Autodesk are both big companies, vying for an increased market share. They both have a solid product. I chose Autodesk over Solidworks because they were more responsive to my needs, not less. It was not an easy decision, and in the beginning, I had regrets, as SW had a better product. But I liked the people who went out of their way to understand my business. I see now that I made the right choice. But that was my choice. I would be remiss is I just stood back and let you troll all over these people with your armchair idiocy. You sir are WAY out of line. If you just can’t stand “evil Autodesk”, then switch platforms. Just stop your bitching!! OK I’m done Smiley    End Quote.
   I think it is safe to say that Autodesk bought this for the technology and the SW HSMWorks users are well and truly screwed. There have been and will be I imagine no contractual offers given to these users to prove the words of future support will be true. In any case SW will not co-operate with Autodesk when it comes time to share the little code goodies Gold Partners have access to so HSM as it is know today is toast.
  Every CAM user who has an integrated CAM program and a half a lick of sense, if they are even aware this has happened yet, has to wonder if this could happen to them. It is amazing to me how many CAD and CAM users are oblivious to events in the software world so I have no idea how quickly word of this will spread. But for those who do follow things this is bad.  I have to admit that while I wait for Geometric to integrate with SE this is now worrying. What guarantee do I have that Autodesk or SW won’t do this to me with Geometric?
  I think at this time Siemens and SE offer the safest mid range MCAD program out there in regards to corporate direction and long-term stability in three important ways.  They own the geometry kernal they use, I don’t belierve they can be bought out ever again, and there is no current move I know of to force cloud junk down users throats. Key words when you don’t want to periodically have to make new software purchases because of dumb corporate decisions.  I think they are less than a year away from completing the last part of the MCAD puzzle adding complex surfacing capabilities much which will be better than current ones and will be in ST6.
 To me there is nothing close to Synchronous Tech out there and I had to laugh last week. Happens to be that a new customer uses a version of Inventor from a few years back and I imported a SAT assembly file from him. Met with him on Friday and clicked on a part in the assembly, a cutter blade from a “Jaws of Life” extrication tool, opened it up for edit and did so right away on his dumb imported geometry. Seeing is believing as they always say 😀
   For some reason however SE’s masters  have never until recently thought they needed more than just CAD. I trust the current leadership of SE to truly have the interests of users at heart and I base this upon what I have personally seen and heard behind the scenes and then watch happen in public and there has never been a divergence between promises made to me and subsequent actions. But this CAM thing with HSMWorks has me worried because without owning the CAM solution outright all the good intentions and promises could be out the window overnight. Guys, consider what has happened here and make sure you nail Geometric down. You don’t want  your first CAM integration to be swiped from you and neither do your future users. We want what the big guys want too. Stability and the ability to securely plan for the future in the tools we elect to use.
  I have waited for this for a long time and I don’t want the rug yanked out from under me like has happened with the HSM users. But in light of what Autodesk has done to SW it is clear that all integrated independent CAM programs represent real potential economic jeapordies and disruptions to the businesses that use them.

9 responses to “The pitfall of CAM as a Partner

  1. Pingback: CAD Business model « Solid DNA blog

  2. You say you can’t see UGS ever getting sold again, but I’m not so certain myself. Ultimately what does Siemens have to really gain from being in the CAD/CAM/CAE business? Sure.. on some high level, you could say it complements their business because they’re a big player in industry and CAM/CAM/CAE tools are used in industry. But by that token look at what happened to their relationship wiithin GM?

  3. Hi Kevin,
    I happen to know the reason for the purchase of UGS by Siemens. Karsten Newbury was over this buyout and it is no accident that someone with a Masters in Industrial Engineering was here doing this. Siemens recognised that software was essential to their growth plans for their own company and that they needed complete control, or at least as much as is possible in this day and time, and they chose UGS to fill this spot. The only other candidate with the majority of tools needed to do what Siemens wanted to do would have been Dassault. I am sure Dassault was not for sale and considering where they seem to be headed is not I imagine what Siemens was looking for.
    Siemens is implementing UGS stuff all over and they are going to use it in their own manufacturing processes more and more. It is a competitive edge and was bought for this and these guys think long term. Really long term so don’t look for UGS to go anywhere in your lifetime, the buyout days are over.

    Yes and look at what happened to their relationship with Mercedes and Fiat/Chrysler so whats your point here? Siemens is winning more than they are losing and they are winning bigger than Dassault who is their only real competitor for complete manufacturing management.

    If what you reference with GM has happened in the last three years remember that Government Motors is now manipulated by statist socialist bureaucrats and decisions made there are half political and half financial and nothing may be as it appears anymore.

  4. No you get me wrong, I meant when Unigraphics was part of General Motors. One could argue it gave them as much of a competitive advantage and control as the case is right now for Siemens. But GM did spin out Unigraphics in the end. I do think it was maybe like a 20 year relationship which is pretty long though! but not a lifetime 🙂

  5. Unless I’m completely mistaken but Unigraphics was a part of General Motors at some point, right, at least? Or under the wider umbrella EDS which in turn was owned, perhaps not wholly, but GM?

    • Kevin, Yes, McDonnell Douglas sells UGS to EDS in 1991 and EDS at that time is owned by GM. will take you to a complete history of UGS compiled by tireless advocate for all things UGS John Baker. Tip of the hat to John for his work here.

      Suffice it to say according to what Tony Affuso told me Unigraphics/UGS went through basically four sets of investment banker type acquisitions where software development may have been secondary to the creation of a cash cow. This all ended when Siemens bought them out as Siemens bought UGS to use for themselves and then of course to sell the software to customers for additional income.

  6. You bloggers don’t seem very smart. Both Dassault and Siemens already have very capable Cam capabilities.
    All they need to do is make them available to Sw and Se
    Why on earth would they need to buy something else.
    Wait I know the answer…. Perhaps Sw and Se are not in their long term strategy.

    • There problem with, at least to my knowledge, te Dassault solutions. Is that they offer a lot but they offer a lot of half arsed solutions. I’m pretty sure their CAM effort is along the same lines of action. I think NX got their act together a bit better though, I’m not particularly familiar.

    • OK Scott, help me out here as I am not the sharpest tack in the box. Where are SE and SW going to go? I can’t speak for SW but I do know some of the behind the scenes stuff with SE. There are areas of seperation between NX and SE as they do cater to differing markets in most ways. There is also defense of turf on the NX side of things where for whatever reason they have a rather holier than thou attitude and it is their way or the highway. They have no interest in providing a truly integrated CAM solution for SE and I don’t know their exact reasons all I know is they were asked and said no. Now it will be Geometric that plays with SE.

      I think SW is in for a really rough ride for the next few years but that is due more to management stupidity not to lack of interest in midrange MCAD. It is most definitely not that way with SE.

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