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Architosh Staff ([email protected])
17 Nov 00


Microstation for Mac OS X, the future is open

Architosh has long tracked the high profile case of Bentley's Microstation and its Macintosh support. A few years ago Microstation was a CAD platform supported on numerous operating systems, across a wide range of hardware. Today that situation is quite different. Bentley develops strategically for Microsoft's Windows operating systems but continues to support its older products. Microstation SE for Macintosh is one of them.

Mac OS X in the Cards?

There are numerous Macintosh architecture firms who have been forced to make a call between an operating system or a CAD platform. One of the most notable was that of Cambridge, Massachusetts-based ADD Inc., long one of the most technologically advanced architecture firms in the country. They were also completely behind Macintosh, up until a few years ago. At that time a very hard decision was made to go with continuous support of Microstation as a CAD platform, despite the ending of Macintosh development at Bentley. They would phase out Macs over a multitude of years, despite a 70+ staff that enjoyed working with them.

That story is a familiar one to many large and significant firms, and many such Macintosh firms have decided to abandon Microstation instead of the Macintosh platform. Where do such architecture firms go? ArchiCAD, MiniCAD VectorWorks, and even PowerCADD are alternative directions. Today DenebaCAD 2.0 and BOA are excellent alternative directions as well.

Architect and Architosh reader Koy Vanoteghem wrote in to share with us his recent communications with Bentley's Phil Chouinard. Here are his original statements:

To Bentley:

Who can I contact to learn more about the possibility of Microstation J or other future releases availability on the new Mac OS X platform. My firm is currently using Microstation SE, which is rapidly becoming obsolete. We are concerned that we may be required to abandon Microstation all together if future releases are not planned. Due to the expense involved we simply cannot consider the possibility of switching over to PC machines in order to maintain Microstation use.


What follows next is Phil Chouinard's lengthy and very interesting reply back to Koy:

Hi Koy.

Thanks for your feedback, we really appreciate it. I'd like to assure [you] that we are keeping your request on record for future consideration. At this time, however, we are still currently focusing our development effort regarding next generation products on the Windows platform. If you wouldn't mind, I'd like to take a moment to explain why.


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