Autodesk products are falling like parrots

Autodesk is killing off products at such a rate I can’t keep up with it all. The latest ones to fall off the perch and join the choir invisible are Structural Detailing and Advance Concrete.

I think. As I said, I can’t keep up.

Despite the recent departures, Autodesk still has way too many products and it’s inevitable that the cull of Carl’s acquisitions and creations will continue. It’s just too bad if you’re one of the people using a product that Autodesk feels isn’t profitable and/or exciting enough, you’ll just have to learn to live without it.

Although 2017 has been particularly brutal for End Of Life experiences, Autodesk killing off products is of course nothing new. Autodesk is even named after a dead product (well, stillborn).

Trace back through Autodesk’s history and you’ll see a long and bloody trail of product corpses and wailing orphans. Maybe you’re one of those orphans. Tell us all about your experiences if you think it might be cathartic. Were you looked after?

What sort of product does Autodesk kill off? Let’s narrow it down.

Autodesk kills new products, old products, cloud products, desktop products, mobile products, free products, paid products, full products, add-on products, large products, small products, products that were bought just to kill off for anti-competitive reasons, products that have been ignored to death, and products that Autodesk hyped to the heavens as the best thing ever and if you didn’t get on board you’d be left behind with all the other Luddites and look silly and old-fashioned as your competitors strode off arm-in-arm with Autodesk into a wonderful bright future.

You name it, Autodesk has killed it. It would seem that almost nothing is safe.

To give you some idea what I mean, I’ve resurrected my Autodesk Graveyard page. I tried this a few years ago but it was too big a job to create and maintain it so I killed it (ironically enough). Thanks to Edwin Prakaso on Twitter for inspiring me to have another go at it, with a bit less detail this time so hopefully it’s manageable.

Image of war graves by Arne Hückelheim.
No disrespect intended to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Lest we forget.

The Autodesk Graveyard is by no means complete and what’s there may not be 100% accurate. Additions and corrections can be made by letting me know in the comments on this post. If you could provide references that show the birth and death dates of the products you know about, that would be ideal, but all feedback is welcome.

18 Comments

  1. ralphg

    Autodesk went on a software acquisitions binge in the late 1980s, early 1990s when it wanted to become the #1 vendor of every kind of graphics software. It even had a PowerPoint competitor at one point, which I even used for presentations in those days. It had just one major flaw: no text reflow.

    1. Yes, I owned a copy of Graphic Impact and used it to do a systems analysis presentation for my degree. Because it was a perpetual licensed standalone desktop product I could go on using it for some years after Autodesk killed it.

      1. blueginkgo

        How long before they attempt to close the activation servers for older perpetual versions of their software ? Would be illegal ? Are we so sure ? Even viruses have kill switches these days…

          1. This has been my big concern. But surely they have said that if you are a Perpetual Licence holder, you get to keep your software ‘forever’, so I’d like to think that would be actionable if they broke that claim.

  2. Alex

    You could include Autodesk Civil Design and Autodesk Survey which were add-ons to Land Desktop. Als, Autodesk Field Survey which was only around a couple years, maybe 2002-2004 if I remember correctly.

  3. 3ds plasma – a cut down version of 3ds Max that could export to Flash SWF files.
    DWF viewer (or renamed to Design Review?)
    Discreet Edit, Flint, Fire, Inferno (Flame is still there) for visual effects and compositing
    Maya PLE (free Personal Learning Edition)

  4. Frank

    Nice topic,beacuse I’m interesting in open an academy about 3D (specialized in animation) in Spain…but…I have see the annual report of Autodesk, things are not going well in this company, I know that is a big company, but he is making big mistakes (don’t improve enought 3dMax and also strategy mistakes).
    In the other side, Blender has make a huge improve versus 3DMax (2.8 Blender is really good).
    I have clear that I must learn Blender animation but my doubt is…is it possible that 3DMax “disappear” or just will be not important anymore in animation? I’m really worry about that.
    What do you think guys?

    1. Steve Johnson

      I don’t expect 3ds Max to go away any time soon. I do expect it to stagnate and be overtaken by the opposition, just like Autodesk’s other long-term mainstay applications.

        1. Steve Johnson

          Not my area of expertise, sorry. I do know that some people swear by Blender and others have switched successfully from 3ds Max to Blender. Their needs and yours may differ. Blender has been around for 20 years and I can’t see it going away.

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