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CAD & 3D vendors talk up Mac & Apple markets

Major CAD/3D vendors are taking a new look at wider opportunities in the Apple space, according to CEO interviews at Archintosh.com. The discussion spans the Mac as a CAD platform as well as collaboration with the iPad tablet and CAD cloud computing.

Major CAD/3D vendors are taking a new look at wider opportunities in the Apple space, according to CEO interviews at Archintosh.com. The discussion spans the Mac as a CAD platform as well as collaboration with the iPad tablet and CAD cloud computing.

The third article in the site's 2011 State of Apple in CAD/3D series talks up industry bigwigs including James Scalpa, CEO of Altair Engineering; Carl Bass, CEO of Autodesk; Chris Yessios, founder of AutoDesSys; Viktor Varkonyi, CEO of Graphisoft; Bob McNeel of McNeel and Associates; and Sean Flaherty, CEO of Nemetschek Vectorworks.

Of course, the increases in Mac shipments over the past decade — from .87 million units in Q4 2001 to 4 million in Q4 2011 — provide a bit of context to discussions about Mac versions. Still there's a lot of nuance in the CAD space.

For example, the Mac can boot into a Windows, Unix or Mac OS X operating systems and AutoDesSys' Chris Yessios doesn't necessarily track the exact installation.

“The ‘renewed’ popularity of the Mac has definitely affected our sales,” he said, “even though we cannot really tell who buys for the Mac and who for the PC.”

In addition, there was some interesting analysis of buying patterns in the academic segment, whether individual purchases by students or faculty, or purchases for computer labs or departments. Individuals like the Mac better, Yessios said.

“However, when academic units buy computers for their labs they have favored PCs because they have been significantly cheaper.” Yessios further remarks that universities, however, have been on a trend to maintain fewer and fewer labs and they expect students to have personal computers. This trend thus favors Macs, putting the costs and decisions in the hands of students themselves.

At the same time, Apple needs to gear up its sales and support organization in the CAD/3D engineering market, according to James Scalpa, CEO of Altair

“For Apple to succeed in the engineering sector it will need more than a great platform.” “They will need to work with the IT groups of the companies in this space and they will need to support the ISVs as well,” he adds. “HP, IBM, Sun, Intel and Microsoft, to their credit,” he continues, “have always understood and embraced this.”

This task may be a difficult one for Apple, which is only now taking concerted aim at the enterprise and mid-size business customers. And these customers, even more than those in the enterprise,

Take a look at Architosh's CEO interview article and the rest of the series.