During this week's conference call, a financial analyst asked about SolidWorks. Here is the answer given by Dassault Systemes ceo Bernard Charlès, an answer I find puzzling, because the analyst did not ask about the kernel, as best as I can tell.
On the evolution of the kernel, that’s not anymore the way we are approaching [SolidWorks]. The evolution of the next generation of SolidWorks, what was presented at SolidWorks World early this year in January, was the fact that we are approaching the evolution of SolidWorks to become social, online, with [a] new type of additional applications.
The first we are introducing this year is what we call "Mechanical Conceptual," which is really something highly needed for mechanical engineers. And this will be done by providing an online social environment that works.
We stick around SolidWorks portfolio, supplement that portfolio, and use the social environment for designs. So we don’t plan to replace [it], unless we are adding to the SolidWorks install base additional valuable applications that users will value, recognize, and then will use -- that’s the adoption process. So, there is no plan for migration [of the kernel].
The plan is for expansion of the portfolio. And that sum [sic] on the time, where the expansion are big enough, the previous generation becomes an add-on of the generation, because we believe today the world of design is changing. That is the game we are offering here, including online design. We want to be the first. I know the status now working on online tab, browser-based, and we now believe then the space open.
We are building the solution to the online through the browser; that’s what we are starting to do with 3DVIA product line and other product lines which are coming up.
What Ralph Grabowski Thinks
It is always difficult to clearly understand what Mr Charles says, especially when transliterated through the ears of the SeekingAlpha transcription staff. But it appears that the current plan for SolidWorks is as follows:
1. Continue developing SolidWorks using the Parasolid kernel from Siemens PLM.
2. Write add-ons for SolidWorks that use Dassault's own CGM kernel.
3. Eventually make SolidWorks an add-on to the collection of CGM-based add-ons.
The add-ons will have connections to the Web and social media. Dassault has given up on its earlier plans to replace SolidWorks with code based on V6 or to port the kernel to CGM -- both tasks that would have been too difficult and too disruptive to its two million users.
In paragraph 4, however, Mr Charles seems to say that once the CGM-based add-ons become big enough, then SolidWorks becomes an add-on to the new generation -- but I could be wrong.