Architosh News Reports
  Architosh Staff ([email protected])


VectorWorks - Macintosh CAD Resurgence?

4 Nov 99.

Our special Feature on Diehl Graphsoft -- and in particular the interview with Richard Diehl -- sheds some interesting light on the 'state of Macintosh CAD'. For one thing, despite the fact that Diehl Graphsoft may now be targeting the Windows platform more aggressively than the Mac platform that alone does not suggest anything negative about the company's feelings about Macintosh and Apple's future. In fact, as it turns out, Richard Diehl and Diehl Graphsoft are quite bullish on Apple these days, and here are just a few reasons why:

  1. While the company admits that the Windows market offers them more upside -- due to the fact that it is bigger -- the Macintosh market still provides them with the bulk of their revenue. In fact, despite the Qtr. 4, 1999, earnings statements which claimed that for year-end Diehl Graphsoft's Windows products revenues grew by 22%, while Mac revenues decreased (a percentage withheld by the company), their Qtr. 1, 2000, earnings showed Macintosh revenues to be twice that of Windows.
  2. Macintosh grew twice as fast as Windows in the first quarter for year 2000! Diehl can be bullish about Apple's new machines like the G4 because they can excite users to upgrade to new equipment and new software. In the coincident recent Qtr. 1, 2000, for Diehl Graphsoft, Macintosh revenues for the quarter grew by 42% compared to year-ago revenues in the same quarter, while Windows revenues grew a healthy 22%. Total revenues by platform for the Qtr. 1, 2000, showed Macintosh revenues at $1.3 million compared to $0.6 million for Windows.
  3. While the company's users are approximately 60% Mac and 40% Windows, for Qtr. 1, 2000 Macintosh revenues were twice as high as Windows revenues. That's exciting Mac news! And news that pleases the company, for they want healthy growth on both platforms.

In the interview with Richard Diehl, he communicated other reasons why Diehl Graphsoft is bullish on Apple. Here's a summary:

  1. Diehl Graphsoft thinks Apple is doing a wonderful job, both with their new exciting G4 machines and consumer iMacs and iBooks.
  2. As the interview revealed, Apple's doing an excellent job with its developers, "better than Microsoft".
  3. Apple's technical roadmap looks very promising. (OpenGL, AltiVec, Multiprocessing, OS X)

And there's more good news. The company has recently embraced SMLib, a cross-platform 3D modeling kernel (graphics engine for developers) from Solid Modeling Solutions, a technical tour de force in the extremely high-end 3D modeling world. An upcoming VectorWorks version will be bringing advanced NURBS-based solid modeling to VectorWorks on both Windows and Macintosh. Now the Mac world will gain another top-tier NURBS-based solid modeling application -- one that is already one of the top three general use CAD programs in the world.

Embracing Apple's Multimedia Technologies and Adobe's Publishing Technologies

One of the nice things about doing CAD on the Macintosh is that the Macintosh still has clear advantages over Windows when it comes to print and online publishing. At the heart of Macintosh publishing is Adobe's products, in addition to many others (some of which are Mac only). Diehl Graphsoft's interest in Adobe's PostScript and possibly adding Adobe PDF as an output option in future VectorWorks (see the interview article for more) products will go a long way to bridging CAD to the publishing world -- of which the online publishing world's standardization on PDF is certain.

Diehl Graphsoft is also very interested in leveraging Apple's QuickTime 4 (the ISO MPEG-4 file format standard adoption) for multimedia. Richard Diehl mentions QuickTime's 3D file format capabilities and his company's interest in them for the future. Also, VectorWorks 8.5 leverages QuickTime 4 further than previous versions of the CAD software. (read the interview to learn more).

One thing came through loud and clear in the interview with Richard Diehl: they are very committed to the Mac OS as well as Windows. And although they may personally prefer their Apple roots and be a Macintosh company at heart, they are by principle driven by their users' wishes and understand their markets. And that can be as simple as a re-balancing of the Mac OS in a Windows world or as radical as an embracing of the BeOS on Intel hardware. Where their uses go they will be there.


The Apple Store now sells a selection of leading, third-party Macintosh software!

The Ultimate Macintosh CAD machine: Power Mac G4/500, custom configured. starts at $2,199

Essential for your design or engineering business, FileMaker Pro 5 handles all your data business needs. $249

click on our screen grab to go there now!



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