3D CAD software is today dominated by 3 vendors, Dassault, PTC and UGS.
Their 3D CAD software products are very similar - in fact so functionally similar that they now almost always avoid competing on 3D CAD functionality but instead focus almost exclusively on their PLM capabilities and "business process innovation".
Technical innovation in 3D CAD software seems to have flown out of the window as PLM stomped in through the door.
What is PLM? What is "business process innovation"? Do they really help ordinary CAD software users (designers and engineers) get their job done? Or do they more likely help large CAD software companies make their quarterly revenue targets?
Clayton M. Christensen, author of "The Innovator's Dilemma" shows that sustained innovation, even funded by billion dollar research budgets, only enables leading companies to survive so long as no disruptive technology suddenly appears to upset the corporate apple-cart. In the 1980s Digital and Computervision were leading companies in their markets; today neither exists. Both were the victims of disruptive technologies.
Just as propeller powered aircraft could not compete with jets; neither will today's CAD software be able to compete with new products on the imminent horizon.
Watch this space!
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See also software business in Japan