Cad giant Autodesk sparked a row at last week's ICAT 96 Cad show after it was accused of clamping down on Autocad Vars which sell Visio technical drawing software.
Visio MD Jim Horsburgh said Autocad dealers displaying Visio posters and selling Visio Technical, the software package that competes with Autodesk's Autocad LT, were visited by Autodesk MD Jeff Drust and told to remove the Visio promotions. 'Autodesk is being very defensive about its territory. Several resellers were asked to remove our stuff.' Autodesk has a history of reprimanding Vars that want to sell competitive products (PC Dealer, 12 October 1994) and has always insisted that the top tier of Autocad resellers could not carry competitive products like Bentley Systems' Microstation.
Computer 2000 subsidiary Datech is the exclusive Auto-desk wholesaler, but had to form a new distribution company, Polar, to distribute Visio because Autodesk insisted that Datech could only carry Autocad.
'This is Autodesk's track record, but we can't get anyone whose business depends on Autodesk to talk about it,' said Horsburgh. Autodesk marketing director Ian Baxter denied the charge and said there was nothing written to disqualify Autocad Vars from selling Visio.
Polar MD Sean Fane said Autodesk claims Visio is no threat to its business. 'If that is true then why are they doing this, and why are they feeling threatened?' he asked.
Horsburgh claimed Visio had more leads than any other exhibitor at ICAT, but admitted the sales battle with Autodesk was 'a bit like David and Goliath'.
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