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Oct 18 2005

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Autodesk Buzzsaw not ‘consistent’ market leader

"Since 1999, Autodesk® Buzzsaw® has consistently led the market for project collaboration and management solutions." What’s wrong with this assertion (made on the Autodesk website here)?

Well, ignoring the claim to market leadership (made, after all, by just about every construction collaboration technology vendor I know), it’s the word ‘consistently’. The statement – probably an oversight on Autodesk’s part – conveniently overlooks the troubled early years of the Buzzsaw project.

Buzzsaw.com was launched in November 1999 – near the peak of the dot.com bubble – by Autodesk Ventures, a specialist division established purely to invest in new web-based startups. Buzzsaw was spun off as a separate company with a substantial investment of both former Autodesk personnel and Autodesk money (read Casey Elston’s CADdigest article for the full story), with ProjectPoint as its online project collaboration service.

To cut a long story short, having burned its way through some $90 million (including an estimated $23.5 million from Autodesk), by early 2001 Buzzsaw.com was nowhere near profitability – having offered some of its services for free to establish a larger user-base; it then began closing down some of its operations – including its London office – and laying off its people. Autodesk acquired the business in July 2001, paying $15 million cash for the 60% shareholding that it didn’t own, and ProjectPoint was later re-branded as an Autodesk product: Buzzsaw.

But I somehow don’t think we’ll see a more historically correct assertion: "Since 1999, the Autodesk-backed spin-off Buzzsaw.com using ProjectPoint, which we then bought back in 2001, subsequently rebranding its application as Autodesk® Buzzsaw®, has led the market for project collaboration and management solutions." Doesn’t really have the same impact, does it?

Permanent link to this article: http://extranetevolution.com/2005/10/autodesk_buzzsa-3/

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