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Follow the money


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The past two fiscal quarters PTC has posted losses. It might be said that during these tough economic times that's to be expected. However, Autodesk (makers of AutoCAD) and Desault Systems (Catia & SolidWorks) have managed to post profits on increasing revenues from sales. Mean while PTC is faced with decreasing revenue on it' s flagship Pro/E product line and relying on maintenance revenue and PLM sales to stay afloat.

Is PTC in a death spiral? Can/should PTC focus on it's Windchill line to boost revenue at the expense of Pro/E or is this approach short sited?

Desault has Catia and SolidWorks in it's stable of products. This allows them to sell high end systems to large companies and target smaller installations with SolidWorks. Can PTC hope to compete with it's modular (i.e. crippleware) approach to selling Pro/E or should they provide a more robust product suite and look to make up revenue with market share, licencing, tech support and customized solutions?

SOS - Save Our Software

Bernie Hayden

I think that if PTC keeps gining away its software so that it can Get the Sale over other competors, it's going do the tube fast. IMHO, some of the changes we see in Wildfire is due to the fact that the industry has asked the CAD companies to come up with a user freindly interface at a much lower cost.

Steve C
I'm not sure who you're refering to by the industry has asked the CAD companies to come up with a user freindly interface at a much lower cost. I can believe that some people at PTC, in response to market share losses to Solidworks and the like, decided that what they need to sell software was a more Windows like interface.

Being relatively new to Pro/E (just over a year) I would have to agree that the Menu Manager mixed with Windows style pull downs and dialog boxes was in need of a major tune-up. Perhaps old timers are used to it or have side stepped the problem using map keys but I couldn't believe how many time you had to click DONE to get anything DONE. Another major annoyance was the lack of consistency across the board. For example, only lower case characters in file names for Intralink but Pro/E converts everything to upper case (WTF?). Sometimes things are in the pulldowns and not in the menu manager and vice versa. Dialog boxes are not well thought out and require reentry of data for no good reason.

If the marketing decision pushed the Wildfire release toward a Windows interface with effective use taking a back seat then I believe that decision will backfire since my feeling is that those that are most likely to make up the Pro/E user community are far more interested in speed and power than having the software look like MS Word.

With the Dashboard approach I can believe PTC is trying to implement a better interface; less clicks, more intuitive, etc. Likewise, the mouse movement seems logical although I'd have lobbied for a config option to keep the old salts happy. I also think they missed out on a opportunity to adjust the interface for when you're faced with only a two button mouse (like demos on a laptop).

As far as giving away the software to make the sale that's a tough call. Maintenance is an increasing source of revenue for PTC. Sales of Pro/E are lagging. This loss of market share can have a cascading effect. I've already heard many people say they've opted for SolidWorks since it seems to be the software with a future. Certainly the more prevalent a package is the more likely vendors are to supply models in native format, job shops will be able to accept files without the time and risk of translation etc. I think the bottom line is PTC must sell Pro/E at a price point that aggressively goes after market share.

The modular approach does work but they need to rethink how the different packages are bundled. Even amongst the Pro/E user community (and resellers) there is massive confusion on what is/isn't included with the various packages. And PTC furthers that confusion by constanly changing the names and features. Right now it's like buying a new car; want the nice wheels then you have to buy the sunroof! Real world example: Intralink is sold as single site and multi-site; why is the baseline functionality only included with multi-site? Yet when you go to PTC training they push how invaluable baselines are; ditto for skeleton models.

Wildfire change should boost sales this year, I think this package is very competitive and at a great price. From my point of view is the best MCAD in the market, both high-end and mid-range.

I think SolidWorks is gaining market share based in marketing strategies that sometimes go in dirty practices (i.e. speaking bad things about competitors), but at the end is a toy CAD. Even, viewing DSS results main incomes come from SW not CATIA, the same with EDS.

These times are difficult for many companies including great players, so PTC should coninue improving and perhaps increasing marketing strategies (there is no little or minor customers)
Technical superiority does not necessarily equal greater sales or profits. DSS is winning the PR war, and seems to have the momentum.

As far as wildfire increasing sales, I highly doubt it. Maintenance customers probably already have a CD (or two) sitting on their shelves, not willing to upgrade based on past experience (or the lack of intralink compatability). Incremental sales to new markets are being lost because of misdirected marketing and technical arrogance of PTC

The CAD market is pretty mature, with companies pretty much set on their favorites. Until PTC learns how to market their strengths it's pretty much a standstill. The solidworks community is strong, no doubt about it ( and they can get their tolerances right for standard hole patterns)

don't get me wrong, I think that pro/engineer is the superior technical product, but marketing? No way


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