A household name among architects and engineers, Autodesk is best known for AutoCAD, a drafting software which it introduced in 1982.
The San Rafael, Calif.-based company was founded 23 years ago and went public in 1985. After two decades, Autodesk continues to make products relevant for the market. In March 2005, it released updated versions of all its applications. Focusing on making it easier for its customers to move ideas from the drawing board into production, Autodesk included new iterations of more than 25 applications.
In December 2004, Autodesk entered an intellectual-property-sharing agreement with Microsoft. Both companies agreed to share patents in a variety of areas, including data management, collaboration, digital effects, project management, computer-aided design and so-called location-based services.
Today, Autodesk is a fully diversified software company that provides targeted products for creating, managing, and sharing digital assets. It has four global strategic partners—Microsoft, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM--as well as 2,500 third-party developers. It has grown into recognized brand in industries such as building, infrastructure, manufacturing, media and entertainment.
Autodesk announced on Oct. 4, 2005, plans to acquire Canada-based Alias, a privately held developer of 3D graphics technology, for US $182 million in cash. With this acquisition, Autodesk hopes to grow its expertise and offerings for the design of consumer products and automotive as well as in the media and entertainment markets. The transaction is expected to close within the next four to six months.