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Apr 09, 2009


Ben Eadie

I dream of the day. But given the fact that DS SW Corp only views the mac as a small market share, too small to bother with I doubt it will ever be done. In this case greed by a corperation is more important than pleasing its customers.

Ben Eadie

Evan Yares

Irrespective of the market demand for a Mac product, it's not going to happen. SolidWorks was designed from the ground up to be a Windows package. It could take literally years of work to tear it down to the ground and rebuild it as a multi-platform product. If it could be done at all.

Don't blame corporate greed. Blame the inherent complexity of CAD software.

Brian McElyea

I think it would be great for SolidWorks to be available on the Mac as a native app.

But I also think that the reality is that the overwhelming majority of users are corporate Windows users, and that's not going to change. Also, I understand that SolidWorks has a pretty good working relationship with Microsoft, and I don't think that Apple would be that cooperative, if at all.

Norm C.

"Blame the inherent complexity of CAD software."
"If it could be done at all."

Wouldn't it be more to the point to say, blame CAD companies for tying themselves to tools exclusive to one platform? Like the .NET programming environment, instead of cross-platform tools? Or are you saying that the inherent complexity of CAD software requires it to be available on Windows only?

And aren't you aware that Siemens now offers NX for OS X? If they could do it, why others couldn't? Of course, NX must have had some code from when Unigraphics was on UNIX to begin with, but still...


So you take the development cost/4403 and then see if they'd pay for it :)


Guys, I've been on both sides of this equation with NX and Solid Edge. The cost of suporting additional operating systems is huge:

1.) Things you get for free with one OS may need to be specially created on the other OS.

2.) Compilers are different creating bugs that are often hard to find. I used to hate going to a debugger I didn't know on a platform I didn't use because the bug only showed up there.

3.) CAD makes use of numerous libraries. What happens if the library is not supported on the OS you want (or the OS version you want)?

4.) UI differs on each platform. Its hard to be consistent with the OS.

So while NX can do multi-OS pretty well, there are a lot of infrastructure you need to have to do it.

Jeff Cope

It is funny for me to hear people complain about SolidWorks tying itself to a specific platform (i.e. Windows). Anyone familiar with the history of CAD knows that at one time just about all 3D CAD tools were multi-platform and the user experience sucked because of it. SolidWorks sales exploded mainly because it didn't have all of the UNIX baggage that its competitors did (and in some cases still do). Also greed doesn't really factor into this discussion at all. If SolidWorks doesn't take care of its customers then someone else will. If they start squandering precious resources to develop a version of SolidWorks that runs on MAC to make their 4,400 MAC users happy then one of their competitors who has the good sense to focus on SolidWorks' 300k other users will begin stealing SolidWorks' market share in bunches.

Nolton Johnson

Stranger things have happened Evan. I am very actively looking for a replacement to SW because the PC & Windoze is a stumbling block to me. I love SW but don't need the total complexity it offers so after 8 years I am going back to the Mac and will make do with NX, Vellum, VectorWorks, SolidThinking, and/or the many other perfectly good CAD programs. It's a matter of productivity, I really hate to waste time with PC/Windoze hassels. It's a matter of sanity, I loose my patience too easily and I want to remain sane. It's a matter of creativity, mine is degraded by using inferior tools. It is NOT a matter of price, I would pay almost anything to be able to work without stupid interruptions like I did with my Macs in the 80's & 90's.

Richard Williams

I don't know what it takes to do this. Most likely time and programing money to a market that might not offer a large user base. But I sure would like to see it. There are many dedicated MAC users and they won't change. So perhaps the mountain must go down to the valley. As long as it would pay for itself I think it should be done.


Wow, so there are 4,403 beatniks who use SolidWorks that want to see a port to their fancy-pants OS. It makes me feel good that this number is so low!


Autodesk Alias, Rhino and Siemens NX are coming on the Mac so I think is time for a new system, if they don't port to OS X.(also I have not participate on any Petitions so I guess the number is bigger)

Tom Fenn

One Mac compatible product that is rarely mentioned in the press is Punch Software's Shark FX, a fully parametric, ACIS based CAD package. SFX also weighs in at a fifth of the price of a basic seat of SW's. Personally I'm fed up with waiting for Dassault to make the leap of faith to Mac OS X. FWIW though, It's worth mentioning that Autodesk are currently asking current clients for comments about porting AutoCAD to Mac OS X which can only be good news too.


"Shark is the industry’s first modeling application totally focused on conceptual and preliminary design for those requiring precision content for 2D/3D digital models."

So it's competition for Ashlar Vellum, Rhino, MoI, etc, not SolidWorks, Pro/E, Inventor, CATIA, Alibre, etc.


The signature count on the SolidWorks for Mac petition has just grown from 4403 to 4479. I have a feeling the recent blog posts on the topic contributed to the renewed interest. (Full disclosure: I'm among those blogging about it too.)


Supporting an OSX version is not necessarily going to make it a worse product - ArchiCAD is an example of a very complex CAD program that has always been multi-platform and is very reliable (much more so than Revit - at least for the moment - from what i hear). Where things can come unstuck is tying yourself to platform specific development tools as Autodesk has done, resulting in their being little chance of an OS X version of Revit ... something that would be FAR more interesting than the OS X version of AutoCAD/LT being talked about.

Potential market size is another issue .. a ~5K signature petition does not mean there are only 5K potential OS X users out there. I would suggest it is far, far higher than this. I know so many people who would switch to a Mac without another thought if the software they needed to use could be run natively.


Like all Apple products, there is more hype than substance, and this is no different. 4,500 people seems like a lot, but that pettition dates back to 1999? Apple once again used creative marketing instead of a designing an affordable system to increase its market share (I'm a Mac commercials)and quite a few lemmings in the world followed right along. If you look at the most recent market share numbers (2009 Q1) you will see that Apples market share is once again starting to fall like it always does once people see beyond the hype and cool light up logos. As of now their share is down to 7.4% from an 8.0% share in 2008 Q4. Furthermore their shipments are down over 1% while the PC industry actually saw a minor increase in sales. Quite a few recent blogs for some reason keep mentioning that Apples market share is above 10% and that it's been growing, perhaps some digging for actual factual numbers might do them some good: http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=939015

Stewart C. Simon

Why not have it ported to Mac OS?
Another platform would generate more business for everyone, as well as having the app run on a more efficient & stable OS ...;-)


I have worked in a variety of SolidWorks sales and technical roles for over 12 years. Prior to that I sold and supported various CAD apps on PC's (DOS..Windows 3X..Sun and HP Unix and even Mac's).

Back in 1999, Apple approached the company I was working for to promote Apple hardware in the engineering community.

They provided us with numerous native Mac CAD apps to compare and contrast with the PC/Unix offerings we represented (VersaCAD, AutoCAD, Anvil, Sigma Design Arris, etc.).

At the time, the Mac offerings were seriously lacking. MacBravo was probably the best offering, but still lagged behind the PC/Unix apps available.

When Autodesk released their "Mac" version of AutoCAD, we hoped it would be robust, and leverage the Mac UI. Unfortunately, the UI was a DOS clone, and the application was never accepted by the consumer.

To compund matters, the cost of Apple hardware and the required large monitor, etc. was cost prohibitive (around $7K more vs. a PC)

This past fall, I purchased Pro Tools audio recording software. My original intent was to run it on a HP Athlon 64 based notebook. It didn't take long to determine that the notebook wasn't up to the task.

I decided to research new systems, and ended up puchasing a 2.6GHz iMac. Pro Tools runs well, and general apps fly!

While Macs might not command the marketshare of Windows based PC's, they certainly have the horsepower to effectively run 3D CAD.

Unfortunately, applications are what drive hardware purchases.

Until vendors develop robust 3D CAD, CAM, FEA and CFD applications, that meet the needs of mainstream users, choosing a Mac platform for engineering applications will suffer the same fate it did in the late 1990's.

The best solution would be OS independent applications that could run anywhere.

Just there

has there been any advancement in this? Do you know if they are going to release a Mac OS X version of it any time soon?

Kevin De Smet

I doubt it, since they're focusing on OS independent cloud computing.

Anthony Frausto-Robledo, LEED AP

A couple of comments and a response to Evan's comment. At the time Evan wrote his comment there is no way he could have knowledge that Autodesk had already been well into producing a fully native Cocoa-based OS X version of AutoCAD. But we have it today so, yes, it is possible.

Secondly, we at Architosh collected survey data back in the early part of this decade on demand for a native version of AutoCAD on the Mac (that survey was developed into an industry research paper with Cyon Research and acquired by both Apple and Autdoesk). That survey data was just over 5000 petitions or digital signatures. Bear in mind, we asked how many seats per each petitioner. The total result was well over 15,000 interested Mac seats in a native version of AutoCAD for Mac.

We recently spoke to Autodesk about the Mac version of AutoCAD (an upcoming feature folks you will all enjoy reading...) and as they know us as the co-producer of a research paper that helped them look at it years ago, we were able to really talk shop about the new version and their expectations. The bottom line is this: It doesn't always come down to a specific number. You don't make these decisions because you, as a software company, can calculate to your answer. That's not how it works exactly. The truth you need demand, yes, evidence of it for sure, but people shouldn't get hung up with a number.

When SketchUp first came to the Mac we did a big feature interview on Architosh and asked them about how they made their decision to produce a native Mac version. Again, for those who don't recall the story, it wasn't about a number. In fact, they didn't even collect survey data for it. They based it on gut instinct and some basic facts about Mac market share in European and US markets (verticals). And they also did it because of what I'll label here as "internal persuasion demand" and its affect on everything else.

In essence, if key people inside a company are persuading corporate (or "the team") that they should be on OS X) that will greatly affect everything else.

My own gut feeling is we'll see SolidWorks produce a native version for the Mac in the next few years for sure but they may hit iOS first on route.

Dave Ault

OK lets figure percentages here. Based on 15,000 seat count versus 300,000 using numbers stated in these posts we have 5% of the cad market wants Macs. This is roughly what the market penetration is for Macs in the real world to. Why would users of a system without significant market share expect to have the same consideration as the other 95% of users who do? Lots of angst here as users of overpriced hardware with huge scarcity of worthwhile aps complain about their choices. You guys knew going in that Macs don't have much in the way of programs for use compared to what the other 95% have so just quit complaining. In my company I am only going to cater to a 5% segment of the market with limited funds out of desperation because the numbers just don't add up. Now like the other poster here said if Mac users wanted to divide the cost of a Mac cad program amongst the 15,000 or so actual potential user base that would be a different story. And perhaps they would be willing as Mac users have a history of spending much more for the same componenents as compared to PC users. But pay double up front and don't complain about costs as you can't have it both ways at the same time. You guys don't get respect because there are not enough of you to matter.

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