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  •  Yep. Anyone ever heard of MicroStation? (7+ / 0-)

    Of course not.  But you've heard of its competitor, AutoCAD, even if it was just wondering what the hell AutoCAD is when you were scanning the help wanted ads.  

    Microstation used to use a hardware dongle to prevent anyone using its software without paying their very exorbitant licensing costs.  AutoDesk did not have such copy protections on its competing product, AutoCAD.  

    So, in the 80s when CAD was still new and engineering students (and engineers in general) were learning how to use it, most of them for the first time.  MicroStation was expensive and impossible to get illegal copies of thanks to its hardware key.  AutoCAD on the other hand was expensive, but could be copied and given out to others at your school or firm.  Yes, it was illegal, but people did it.  

    What was the end result?  By being easier to trade illegally, EVERYONE learned to use AutoCAD.  Later, when their company decided to switch from drawing boards to CAD software, what do you think people suggested they buy?  What they already knew how to use -- AutoCAD.

    By being easy to copy illegally, AutoCAD got into the hands of thousands of people who learned how to use it and would eventually become loyal customers who purchased dozens, hundreds or even thousands of licenses, and paid for lucrative service contracts and upgrades.  MicroStation still exists and is still used, but has a infinitesimally small user base.  My dad's old firm had thousands of engineers and draftspeople.  They all used AutoCAD exclusively.   In his office, they had one MicroStation machine, and it's only purpose was to open drawings from other firms that used MicroStation.  It was used maybe once a month, tops.

    I would not surprise me that Microsoft believes that Office is so ubiquitous now, that so many people are convinced they can't possibly live without it, that they feel confident they can get away with something that caused MicroStation to be nothing but a tiny player in a huge market.  


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