Design Engineering – March-April 2019

(Jacob Rumans) #1
March/April | 2019



year ago, Dassault Systemes prom-
ised Solidworks users that it
endorsed two pillars: Solidworks and
3dExperience. That announcement was
important, because two million Solid-
works users had been rejecting Dassault’s
pleas to switch to its 3dExperience line
of software. Users saw no benefit in pay-
ing a lot more annually for cloud-based
CAD programs with a different user
interface running on a proprietary data-
base incompatible with existing Solid-
works models and that weren’t
necessarily shipping yet. So, the two
pillars announcement was Dassault’s
acknowledgment that the desktop Solid-
works software was important to users.
Much to Dassault’s chagrin, they had
acquired not only the most successful
mid-range 3D modeler, but also one that
keeps getting more successful. In 2018,

Dassault Systemes rebrands popular CAD user conference to reflect wider marketing push.

By Ralph Grabowski




for the first time, more than 80,
licenses of Solidworks were sold – about
double the next closest competitor.
Dassault is the biggest of the CAD
vendors. This year, it’s expecting to earn
revenues of US$4.6 billion. It has a single
R&D department spending US$650 mil-
lion a year and employing 41 percent of
the workforce. With its CGM solid and
surface modeler, Dassault has arguably
the most powerful CAD code out there,
offering 12 “brands” (its name for soft-
ware) in 11 target markets, including one
as traditionally non-CAD as fashion.

From Solidworks World to
Dassault offered Solidworks users a com-
promise. In exchange for them getting to
keep their permanent-licensed desktop
software, they should branch out to adja-

cent CGM-based software. But here
Dassault was unhelpful to the cause: It
would announce CGM software designed
for Solidworks users, and then either
cancel the project or else delay the launch,
sometimes by years.
The fantasy of two million customers
paying expensive 3dExperience subscrip-
tions annually for a single code base
(called “V6”) is, however, too delicious
for Dassault to abandon. And so last year
the keynote speeches by executives at
Solidworks World 2018 were all about
3dExperience. This year, at Solidworks
World 2019, the keynotes were all about
3dExperience. And the keynotes at next
year’s... well, there won’t be a Solidworks
World next year.
Dassault has renamed it 3dExperience.
World. The traditional black backpacks
handed out this year were already embla-

Solidworks CEO Gian Paolo Bassi during his
keynote speech at Solidworks 2019.

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