CAD, PLM and End of Microsoft Dominance

CAD, PLM and End of Microsoft Dominance

Last week, during PLM Innovation Congress in London, I talked about future trends in PLM and engineering software. If you missed my presentation there, navigate your browser to the following link to see my presentation. One of the trends I mentioned is the end of Microsoft’s dominance.

This week, on SolidWorks World 2011, I’ve got additional confirmations about future decline in Microsoft dominance and return to multi-platform realities. I decided to pull few examples of recent news and companies announcements related to that and confirming this trend. This is, of course, not a exhaustive list of examples, and I can see many others in this space. I will continue to follow them and share with you in the future.


A year ago, SolidWorks introduced the strategy of multi-platforms. The demo made last year on SolidWorks world presented some technological development that will position future SolidWorks products to be delivered not only on Wintop, but also on Mac, multiple browsers as well as mobile devices. Yesterday, on SolidWorks World 2011, new SolidWorks CEO, Bertrand Sicot, confirmed the vision by re-assuring SolidWorks availability on multiple platforms.

At the same time, Bertrand confirmed that desktop version of SolidWorks will remain available practically forever. In this context, I’d like also to quote SolidWorks co-founder, Jon Hirschtick that mentioned yesterday in one of his interviews: “The shift to Windows is nothing compared to the shift that we are going through now.”

PTC Creo

The  development PTC is doing around the new Creo Applications, and platforms raised multiple questions about availability of Creo Apps for platforms different from Windows. Just to remind you, PTC started in 1980s as CAD system on Unix workstations and only later in 1990s, after huge SolidWorks success, followed Wintop strategy by introducing Pro-E on Windows platform. I found a short video. Mike Campbell of PTC is talking about availability of Creo Apps on non-Microsoft platforms.

According to Campbell, there are going to be specific Creo Apps that will be tailored to Mac users.


Autodesk historically has a record of AutoCAD availability on non Mac. However, in late 1990s and beginning of 2000s, Autodesk discontinued the product availability on Mac. Recently, Autodesk made a significant investment in the introduction of new products on Mac and iOS mobile platforms.

What is my conclusion? The development of multi-platform application is a tough work that requires additional resources of vendors. However, time is about to change and vendors are responding to the reality of the software and hardware platforms. I think, we are going to see growing appearance of CAD and PLM software on non-Microsoft platforms soon. I will be a very interesting change, in my view. Just my thoughts, of course….

Best, Oleg


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  • Nik Pakvasa

    Hello Oleg

    Happy New Year.

    Our, Siemens PLM Software,solutions, Teamcenter and NX, have beenn multi-platform – hardware, operating system and databases, for years. We support HP/Sun/IBM/Dell hardware; and Unix, Linux, and Microsoft operating systems; and Oracle, Microsoft SQL, IBM DB2.

    Best reagrds


  • AB

    there is no denying the trend of running the same CAD brand on multiple OS’s, but I ask you to think about how a generic base CAD system that is then ported to specifc OS’s is going to be catering to the lowest common denominator across all target platforms….excelling at none of them. PTC did this and Solidworks hurt them badly. Now solidworks may do the same thing. Scratching my head on this. I suppose if html5 provides so much power that a great CAD GUI can be offered, then you’d have a “native” app running and that would be a better thing. Or maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about?

  • beyondplm

    Nick, Happy New Year to you and your family! Thanks for this comment and clarifications. I hope to refresh my knowledge and become more familiar with Siemens PLM software on coming PLM world. Best, Oleg

  • beyondplm

    AB, thanks for the comment! I think that CAD companies used multiple technological trend sometimes more successful and sometimes not. You can compare SolidWorks and SolidEdge trajectories, remember Catia stories and think about AutoCAD failure with R13. The dominance of Windows was clear for the last decade. However, it is changing now. Who knows what will come next? I agree, btw with your note about HTML5… Best, Oleg

  • Paolo

    One thing I think is important here is not to confuse multi-platform software with cloud-based software. Nik is pointing out that NX is a true multi-platform software, while I might point out that CREO is the most “windows-esque” software I ever saw from PTC, and I must say I like it…

  • beyondplm

    Paolo, thanks for this important clarification. I think in the era of cloud-internet-browse-mobile the notion of multi-platform is going to change. I see three separate topic -1/ Windows is losing dominance; 2/apps can be available on multiple devices. 3/browser apps can be available (potentially) cross devices. In my view, everything that allows to realize the potential of a device is a valid solution. Sometimes, browser apps are making abuse to the device capability. I found such examples running multiple apps on iPad and other mobile devices. In addition, some frameworks are not delivery the same look and feel on Mac/Leopard. The same true is for Windows as well, of course. Best, Oleg