A story over on CAD Inside caught my attention not because of the lawsuit that Autodesk is filing against the ODA, but rather because of the strategy that drove Autodesk to make the decision. As Roopinder states:
Autodesk has long stated that the DWG format was part of their “intellectual property” and so must have chafed at the idea of rival CAD programs being able to read and generate DWG files rather than put up the big bucks for AutoCAD — or at least AutoCAD LT.T
The strategy that Autodesk has chosen to follow here is one of lock-in. They want to control the entire value chain of applications that can create or consume their data, limiting customer choice and driving out competition. I think that is just short sighted. The value of open data formats and customers owning their own data far outweighs any perceived benefit of keeping out competition. Even Microsoft (who some would consider the king of lock-in) recently realized that they would get more benefit from publishing their data formats that continuing to lock them up. Since I consider Autodesk both a partner and a competitor, I’m not sure whether to be happy (because it gives us something to bash them about) or sad (because it slows the growth of the industry as a whole). Either way, it’s clear that they aren’t ready to compete solely on the merits of their applications. They’ll get there some day.
CAD Insider: Autodesk Zeroes in On Open Drawing AllianceKing Arthur rip