It Works For Me Just Fine

Today Steve Johnson asked the question “Why don’t you use the current release?“. He is referring to AutoCAD and if you are an AutoCAD user not using AutoCAD 2010, you may want to head over to his blog and leave a comment.

At SYCODE it is not uncommon for us to receive support requests from people using AutoCAD 14 saying that our AutoCAD plug-ins do not work with their version of AutoCAD. I started writing AutoCAD plug-ins a decade ago for AutoCAD 2000. That’s why all our AutoCAD plug-ins support AutoCAD 2000 through to the latest version of AutoCAD. Since I have been in this plug-in business for quite a long time, I like to think that I get a pretty good idea of how new versions of CAD systems get adopted. One of the worst adoptions I noticed in recent times was of SolidWorks 2008. But then that really does not come as a shocker, now does it?

Here are a few statistics that I pulled out from SYCODE’s product download logs for the past month.


  • AutoCAD 2010 (28.3%)
  • AutoCAD 2008 (22.2%)
  • AutoCAD 2007 (14.39%)
  • AutoCAD 2009 (13.43%)
  • AutoCAD 2004 (5.84%)
  • AutoCAD 2005 (5.44%)
  • AutoCAD 2006 (4.4%)
  • AutoCAD 2002 (3.52%)
  • AutoCAD 2000 (2%)
  • AutoCAD 2000i (0.48%)


  • Inventor 2010 (60.95%)
  • Inventor 2009 (15.98%)
  • Inventor 2008 (14.2%)
  • Inventor 11 (1.14%)
  • Inventor 10 (3.35%)
  • Inventor 9 (1.18%)


  • Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 4.0 (40.98%)
  • Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 3.0 (22.94%)
  • Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 5.0 (21.31%)
  • Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 2.0 (14.75%)

Solid Edge

  • Solid Edge 20 (39.44%)
  • Solid Edge 19 (16.67%)
  • Solid Edge ST (13.33%)
  • Solid Edge ST 2 (11.67%)
  • Solid Edge 18 (8.89%)
  • Solid Edge 16 (4.44%)
  • Solid Edge 17 (3.33%)
  • Solid Edge 14 (0.56%)
  • Solid Edge 10 (0.56%)
  • Solid Edge 15 (0.56%)
  • Solid Edge 12 (0.56%)


  • SolidWorks 2009 (42.54%)
  • SolidWorks 2010 (29.5%)
  • SolidWorks 2008 (15.24%)
  • SolidWorks 2007 (7.7%)
  • SolidWorks 2005 (2.03%)
  • SolidWorks 2006 (1.62%)
  • SolidWorks 2003 (0.81%)
  • SolidWorks 2004 (0.57%)

By no means do I claim that the above data is a true representation of what is actually going on in the CAD world. This is just one month’s data of the people who have managed to find Only the respective CAD vendors will be able to paint a true picture of the usage of their products. Although I doubt many will actually want to publicly do so.

I have often asked my customers why they still use their old CAD system, especially those who use a system a decade old. Almost always the reply a simple, “It works for me just fine“. In fact, many of the people using a more recent CAD system are on subscription and have the latest version. Just that they have not opened the box because of the very same reason: “It works for me just fine“.

Contrary to what many believe, upgrade cost is not the major driving factor for hanging on to old CAD systems. I cannot take names but many of my extremely well to do corporate customers are quite happy using old and sometimes ancient CAD systems. The reason – “It works for me just fine“.

This is a huge challenge for CAD vendors. How do you keep your revenue stream flowing when your customers do not want to upgrade? This is quite similar to people holding on to their decade old cars. How do the auto manufacturers keep their factories running? Well, they give people better, faster, fuel efficient cars. The CAD vendors have been trying to do something similar with the new features that they keep adding to their software. But I believe there seems to be a gap between what customers are looking for and what the vendors are adding.

One very effective solution to the problem was the subscription business model. Another solution is on the way – the cloud. This cloud solution is actually a fool proof one. Everyone will have to be on the latest version because there won’t be any other older version floating around. I believe this is the single most important driving factor that’s making a couple of CAD vendors go all crazy about the cloud.

I have said before on this blog that cost is going to be the single most important driving factor for CAD users in deciding whether they want to go on the cloud or stay offline. The “pay as you go” cloud computing carrot that the CAD vendors are dangling in front of their customers is nonsense. You can have a perfectly viable “pay as you go” system by keeping CAD off the cloud. The real carrot, which may not be very appealing to most, is the advantage of being able to make use of high-end superior computing power on the cloud. But the question is how many people actually need that?

I cannot help but wonder whether people will give the same reply when asked why they stuck with their old offline CAD systems and not jumped onto the cloud: “It works for me just fine“.

  • schneik


    One of the more interesting benefits of the cloud is the ability for there to be more than one version of an app floating out there. I know of many customers that do not upgrade CAD software in the middle of a contract , or may even have to supply files in an older version as part of their work. Any cloud solution should give users the flexibility of using an older version.

    -Kevin Scchneider

  • Then, I guess the question is how old. I am guessing one version only.

    But I am glad Autodesk is thinking along those lines.

  • cadguy

    Deelip – if you give such detailed sales breakup. It will be easy for competition to figure out sales figures. For example you SE plugin sales are quite healthy for one month 🙂

    Ofcourse the actual numbers can also be integer multiples of the below numbers. But not less than these numbers – assuming that you cut-pasted the %age values directly from excel into this blog 🙂

    Solid Edge 20 71
    Solid Edge 19 30
    Solid Edge ST 24
    Solid Edge ST 2 21
    Solid Edge 18  16
    Solid Edge 16 8
    Solid Edge 17 6
    Solid Edge 14 1
    Solid Edge 10 1
    Solid Edge 15 1
    Solid Edge 12 1

    Total 180

  • I disclosed percentages, not numbers. You are right about the integer multiples. But I think you got the multiple wrong 😉

    BTW, these are just downloads, not orders. So they are not sales figures.

    Moreover, did you give thought to the possibility that I cooked up the numbers to fool my competition? 😉

  • We always get fascinating information from our reader registrations which are now at the point where it's both global and of an order of magnitude big enough to get some really interesting information from it.. While it says nothing about vendor's revenue information (which you can get anywhere these days), it does give us a very clear insight into who is using what, where and where the user communities lie in our readership. It also tells you who's tools are actively being used and perhaps more interestingly, whose are NOT being used…

    PS: CADguy's math skills make my head spin. I wish I'd taken more notice in mathematics class rather than studying “drawing stuff”


  • I wish CADguy's assumption that these were sales (and not download) figures was true. I could then start deciding on the interiors of that private jet I always wanted.

  • I've already got the colour scheme implemented in my jet. It's black and white. When I say implemented, I bought the bits. And when I say “jet” I also mean “bicycle”. It's WAY cheaper 😉

  • Should ask @solidsmack to design you a jacuzzi for your jet. 😉

  • Norm C.

    I have trouble understanding those companies that stay on subscription while they continue to use a really old version of the software. Chances are there are no more patches coming, and having used the software for such a long time, they shouldn't need tech support anymore… at least not to the extent of paying a yearly fee for it. Looks like throwing money out the window to me.

  • In some cases, people using the product do not know that a subscription is being kept alive and the people paying for the subscription do not know that the software is not being used. I tell you, it's crazy.

  • murda

    Being a fabricator and part-time design soloist, I've only ever used AutoCAD, consumer and lower-end CAD, (yeah yeah, hoot derisively, Power Users) for the past 15-odd years, and although I keep current with the successive versions to use some of the neat new tools, I do 90% of my work on one that's about five or six years old, purely because I like the interface…