CAD package loses support next year

Autodesk retires its AutoCAD 2000 software on January 15, 2004 leaving thousands of Australian users without technical support.

Largely used by architects and engineers as a design tool and computer-aided drafting package, Autodesk has six million users worldwide who will be forced to upgrade to AutoCAD 2004.

A member of the AutoCAD user group and IT manager for one of Australia's largest engineering firms, Peter Goern said it will be tough justifying investment in the new product in the current climate.

But end users are left with few options with Goern, who is director of Hodgkison Architects, claiming the product retirement will have a negative financial impact on his organisation.

"We use the product for CAD drafting, and because of that, it’s an important product; it's retirement will affect us greatly," Goern said.

"It will cost us $20,000 to upgrade to the new product this time. However, if we don’t upgrade now, it will cost us $45,000 in 12 month’s time, so we are basically being forced to spend the money now."

Goern estimates 60 to 70 per cent of engineers and architects use the product, and therefore believes the retirement will send waves throughout the industry.

Autodesk’s Asia Pacific senior regional director, Andre Pravaz, said customers need to move to the new product as quickly as possible and incentives are being made available for customers under the Autodesk loyalty program.

"A lot of AutoCAD’s users are electing to move to the newer product. So far, 50 per cent of customers have moved to the new release, with more expected to come. And there is still some time left before January 15," Pravaz said.

The program was released four and a half years ago, and since then has been upgraded four times, with variations of the product being created along the way to cater for specific professions, such as architects and civil engineers.

"The retirement therefore complies with Autodesk's policy to end support and maintenance after three years," Pravaz added.

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