Autodesk acquires HSMWorks

Here’s a bit of industry news that was a shocker:  CAM provider HSMWorks has been bought by Autodesk.  If you go to their home page, it’s now called “Autodesk HSMWorks.”  Even weirder is the tagline, “The CAM Solution for Solidworks.”

The gang over on CNCZone is not real happy about this development.  HSMWorks is thoroughly integrated with Solidworks, and the general suspicion is that it Autodesk will not want to continue to support deep integration with a rival.  I haven’t seen any announcements to that effect, but it is a bit jarring to see an Autodesk division calling its product, “The CAM solution for SolidWorks.”  Hard to believe that will continue much beyond however long it takes them to create an Autodesk Inventor version.

Why do something like this?

I can imagine a couple of reasons.  First, there are a number of CAM packages integrated with Solidworks, but while most will support Autodesk files, I don’t see much in the way of integration.  Autodesk needs a solution for the market that cares about CAM, and HSMWorks has been highly regarded.  Second, perhaps they are looking for ways to try to steal share from Solidworks and view this as a strategic acquisition in that respect.  There’s any number of disruptive moves they could make starting with simply giving away full HSMWorks with every copy of Autodesk.  It’s a $10,000 per seat CAM program, whereas CAD is much cheaper.  Makes me wonder if you could get both components for way less than $10,000 how many would go for it?

This could have ramifications throughout the CAD/CAM world depending on how Autodesk chooses to play the game.  One thing that will be critical is for them to keep the development team on board and engaged.

It’s less well known, but HSMWorks was a sister company to Cimco, so it’ll be interesting to see if any of this impacts Cimco too.  And then there’s the question of what all the CAM companies that are Autodesk partners should do.  Messy business!

 

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