Footnotes / references Financials as of January 31, 2023[update]
Autodesk, Inc. is an American multinationalsoftware corporation that makes software products and services for the architecture, engineering, construction, manufacturing, media, education, and entertainment industries. Autodesk is headquartered in San Francisco, California, and has offices worldwide. Its U.S. offices are located in the states of California, Oregon, Colorado, Texas, Michigan, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Its Canada offices are located in the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta.
The company was founded in 1982 by John Walker, who was a coauthor of the first versions of AutoCAD. AutoCAD is the company's flagship computer-aided design (CAD) software and, along with its 3D design software Revit, is primarily used by architects, engineers, and structural designers to design, draft, and model buildings and other structures. Autodesk software has been used in many fields, and on projects from the One World Trade Center to Tesla electric cars.
Autodesk became best known for AutoCAD, but now develops a broad range of software for design, engineering, and entertainment—and a line of software for consumers. The manufacturing industry uses Autodesk's digital prototyping software—including Autodesk Inventor, Fusion 360, and the Autodesk Product Design Suite—to visualize, simulate, and analyze real-world performance using a digital model in the design process. The company's Revit line of software for building information modeling is designed to let users explore the planning, construction, and management of a building virtually before it is built.
Autodesk's Media and Entertainment division creates software for visual effects, color grading, and editing as well as animation, game development, and design visualization.3ds Max and Maya are both 3D animation software used in film visual effects and game development.
The company was founded by John Walker and a team of programmers in 1982. Walker founded the company after acquiring Interact, a computer-aided design program that operated on microcomputers running the 8-bitCP/Moperating system and two of the new 16-bit systems, the Victor 9000 and the IBM Personal Computer (PC). This tool provided made it affordable for smaller design, engineering, and architecture companies to create detailed technical drawings. The program had been developed by Michael Riddle in 1979. Riddle had struggled to sell the program, and agreed to sell it to Walker in exchange for royalties. The program was further developed and renamed AutoCAD.
Autodesk became a public company in 1985. John Walker did not enjoy the process of writing the prospectus, relating the process to "lying on the beach or juggling chainsaws".
Subsequent to AutoCAD Release 13, the company stopped supporting the Unix environment and the Apple Macintosh platform. After AutoCAD Release 14 (R13 was last DOS & Unix release), first shipped in 1997, Autodesk discontinued development under DOS, and focused exclusively on Microsoft Windows.
AutoCAD has grown to become the most widely used CAD program for 2D non-specialized applications. The native file formats written by AutoCAD, DXF and DWG, are also widely used for CAD data interoperability.
In 1989, Autodesk's sales grew to over $100,000,000 after just four operational years.
Walker remained a programmer at Autodesk until 1994, when he left due to disagreements with changes at the company. With the purchase of Softdesk in 1997, Autodesk started to develop specialty versions of AutoCAD, targeted to broad industry segments, including architecture, civil engineering, and manufacturing. Since the late 1990s, the company has added several significant non-AutoCAD-based products, including Revit, a parametric building modeling application (acquired in 2002, from Massachusetts-based Revit Technologies for $133 million), and Inventor, an internally developed parametric mechanical design CAD application.
In 2007, Timothy Vernor sued Autodesk (Vernor v. Autodesk, Inc.), alleging that he was entitled to resell "used" copies of AutoCAD software on eBay. He had obtained the software from an Autodesk licensee at an office liquidation sale. A federal district judge in Washington denied Autodesk's initial motion to dismiss in early 2008. In February and March 2009, both sides filed motions for summary judgment addressing the issue whether the First Sale Doctrine applies to previously licensed software. The Court ruled in Vernor's favor, holding that when the transfer of software to the purchaser materially resembled a sale (non-recurring price, right to perpetual possession of copy) it was, in fact, a "sale with restrictions on use" giving rise to a right to resell the copy under the first-sale doctrine. As such, Autodesk could not pursue an action for copyright infringement against Vernor, who sought to resell used versions of its software on eBay. Autodesk appealed the decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which reversed the lower court ruling, denying Vernor the right to resale Autodesk software due to Autodesk's nontransferable licensing restrictions. In October 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling.
Autodesk announced the largest lay off in its history on November 27, 2017, with the lay off of 1,150 jobs. This was in addition to the almost 1,000 job cuts announced in January 2016. The number of Autodesk employees decreased from approximately 9,200 to 7,200 in less than 2 years.
Autodesk updated to its current logo in September 2021.
In 1992 Autodesk acquired Micro Engineering Solutions (MES) Inc., a developer and marketer of manufacturing CAD / CAM software.
In 1993 Autodesk acquired Ithaca Software, a 3D computer graphics company founded by Autodesk's former CEO Carl Bass and Garry Wiegand.
In December 1996, Autodesk announced its plan to acquire Softdesk, a developer of architecture, engineering and construction software.
In 1998 Autodesk acquired assets of Genius CAD-Software to strengthen the functionality of its core mechanical products.
In August 1998, Autodesk agreed to acquire Discreet Logic Inc. for about $520 million in stock.
In 1999, Autodesk acquired VISION* Solutions, a vendor of enterprise automated mapping/facilities management/geographic information systems (AM/FM/GIS) from MCI Systemhouse Corp.
In January 2001, Autodesk acquired Gentry Systems, a supplier of specialized software tools and services in the electric utility industry. The asset was used to strengthen Autodesk's position in the utility industry.
In February 2002, Autodesk acquired Revit Technology Corporation, a developer of parametric building technology for building design, construction, and management.
In August 2002, Autodesk acquired CAiCE Software Corporation, a developer of surveying and engineering applications for transportation agencies and consultants; the product was released in 2003 as "Civil 3D".
In December 2002, Autodesk acquired the assets of truEInnovations, Inc. to create the application Autodesk Vault.
In 2003 Autodesk acquired Linius Technologies, Inc. and purchased certain assets of a third software company—VIA Development Corporation.
In 2004 Autodesk acquired MechSoft, Inc., the developer of the MechSoft product.
In 2005 Autodesk acquired the assets of COMPASS systems GmbH, to strengthen Autodesk's position in the European product data management market.
In 2006 Autodesk acquired Alias, with its automotive styling and digital content creation applications such as FBXfile format.
On August 6, 2007, Autodesk announced the acquisition of Skymatter Inc, developer of Mudbox.
On August 9, 2007, Autodesk completed the acquisition of NavisWorks Limited.
On August 20, 2007, Autodesk announced that it completed the acquisition of technology and product assets of Opticore AB in Gothenburg, Sweden. Opticore is specialized in real time visualization primarily for the carmakers industry.
On August 28, 2007, Autodesk announced the acquisition of PlassoTech, developers of CAE applications.
On May 7, 2008, Autodesk announced that it completed the acquisition of Kynogon SA, the privately held maker of Kynapse artificial intelligence middleware. Paris-based Kynogon specialized in video game middleware and simulation.
On May 7, 2008, Autodesk also announced the acquisition of REALVIZ S.A. REALVIZ's flagship products are "Stitcher" software for the creation of panoramas and 360 degree virtual tours, and "ImageModeler" software to produce 3D models from photographs.
In June 2008, a press release announced the acquisition of Square One Research and its flagship product, Ecotect.
In October 2008, Autodesk announced the acquisition on Avid's Softimage, Co. business, developers of 3D application Softimage (formerly Softimage|XSI).
On December 15, 2008, Autodesk announced the acquisition of BIMWorld, plans to combine BIMWorld with Autodesk Seek.
On December 17, 2008, Autodesk agreed to acquire ALGOR, Inc. for approximately $34 million.
In December 2009, Autodesk announced the acquisition of VisualTAO (also known as PlanPlatform), an Israeli start-up that developed cloud-based web and mobile applications that enable users to view and edit AutoCAD files online. VisualTAO became part of PSEB, and the product was released during 2010 as "AutoCAD WS".
In 2010, Autodesk announced the acquisition of Illuminate Labs, the maker of Beast (a global illumination middleware) and Turtle (a global illumination plugin for Maya) used for video game development.
In February 2011, Autodesk announced the acquisition of Blue Ridge Numerics, Inc., a leading provider of simulation software.
In March 2011, Autodesk announced the acquisition of Scaleform, a UI middleware for video games.
In July 2011, Autodesk announced the acquisition of Pixlr, online photo editing and sharing service.
On August 1, 2011, Autodesk announced the acquisition of Instructables, a website and platform where users can share their ideas and collaborate with a variety of do-it-yourself projects.
On August 25, 2011, Autodesk announced the acquisition of Numenus, which optimizes CAD and construction processes by using NURBS technology.
In November 2011, Autodesk announced the acquisition of Grip Entertainment, which develops behavior control systems for computer-controlled characters in video games.
In December 2011, Autodesk announced the acquisition of Horizontal Systems, a provider of cloud-based BIM (Building Information Modeling) collaboration solutions for the AEC (architecture, engineering and construction) industry.
In 2012, Autodesk announced the acquisition of Qontext, Inc., an enterprise social collaboration platform to accelerate Autodesk's ongoing move to the cloud and expansion of social capabilities in the Autodesk 360 cloud-based service.
On March 19, 2013, Autodesk completed the acquisition of Firehole Technologies, a developer of design and analysis software for composite materials.
In October 2013, Autodesk signed an agreement to acquire structural fabrication and detailing software- Advance Steel from Graitec.
In February 2014, Autodesk completed the acquisition of Delcam, a UK based supplier of advanced CAD/CAM software for the manufacturing industry.
In March 2014, Creative Market announced it had been bought by Autodesk. Creative Market is a platform for handcrafted, mousemade design content from independent creatives around the world.
In May 2014, Autodesk acquired Nei Nastran, one of three versions of Nastran, the FEA solver. 
In May 2014, Autodesk acquired Within Technologies, a company founded by Siavash Haroun Mahdavi.
In June 2014, Shotgun Software announced that it had been acquired by Autodesk. Shotgun Software are the publishers of the popular "Shotgun" project tracking software for media and entertainment content creation.
In July 2014, Autodesk acquired Topolabs Technology, a company founded by James Page which pioneered the use of 3D toolpaths for FDM/FFF additive manufacturing systems.
In August 2015, Autodesk signs agreement to acquire SeeControl.
In April 2016, Autodesk announced that it had acquired SolidAngle, creator of the Arnold rendering software.
In July 2018, Autodesk announced that it had acquired Assemble Systems.
In November 2018, Autodesk announced that it would acquire PlanGrid, a San Francisco-based provider of construction productivity software.
In December 2018, Autodesk announced that it would acquire BuildingConnected, a San Francisco-based construction bid-management platform.
In April 2020, Autodesk announced that it had invested in Aurigo Software to Bolster Construction Technology Offering for Owners. Aurigo provides a full lifecycle cloud software to plan, design, build and operate construction assets.
On July 14, 2020, Bridgit Inc. announced that Autodesk had raised $9.4 million in venture capital to take an ownership stake in the Canadian company which makes Bridgit Bench, an online construction work force and resource planning software.
On July 22, 2020, Autodesk announced that it would acquire Pype, a Bengaluru-based provider of cloud-based solutions for automating construction project management workflows.
In November 2020, Autodesk announced that it would acquire Spacemaker, a cloud-based platform that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and generative design to rapidly create, optimize, iterate, and evaluate design alternatives for buildings.
In February 2021, Autodesk announced that it would acquire Innovyze, a provider of smart water infrastructure modeling and simulation technology, for $1billion.
In December 2021, Autodesk announced that it would acquire ProEst, a cloud-based construction estimating product.
A screenshot of AutoCAD (2006), Autodesk's flagship product.
Platform Solutions and Emerging Business (PSEB) division develops and manages the product foundation for most Autodesk offerings across multiple markets, including Autodesk's flagship product AutoCAD, AutoCAD LT, AutoCAD for Mac, and AutoCAD mobile app (formerly AutoCAD 360). Autodesk Suites, Subscription and Web Services, which include Autodesk Cloud, Autodesk Labs, and Global Engineering are also part of PSEB. In what was seen as an unusual step for a maker of high-end business software, Autodesk began offering AutoCAD LT 2012 for Mac through the Apple Mac App Store. Also part of PSEB is the Autodesk Consumer Product Group, which was created in November 2010 to generate interest in 3-D design and “foster a new wave of designers who hunger for sophisticated software”. Users range from children, students and artists to makers and DIYers.
Training and certification
Autodesk offers certificates in two categories: Autodesk Certified User and Advanced Certified Professional.
Autodesk Certified User- Verifies entry-level skills in key Autodesk products. Designed for students and instructors who wish to demonstrate basic proficiency. Curriculum, courseware, and exams offered for independent study or institutional integration.
Advanced Certified Professional- Validates more advanced skills, including complex workflow and design challenges. Designed for students seeking a competitive advantage in a specific product area.
Architecture, engineering and construction
The Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry group is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, in a LEED Platinum building designed and built using Autodesk software. Autodesk's architecture, engineering, and construction solutions include AutoCAD, and Revit, which is their flagship product for relational Building information modeling. The AEC division also develops and manages software for the Construction industry, including Autodesk Construction Cloud, Advance Steel, and the Navisworks (formerly JetStream) product tools; the Infrastructure industry, including Civil 3D, and InfraWorks; and the MEP industry, including Fabrication CADmep. The Autodesk Services Marketplace offering helps its clients train their team in AEC Industry. Projects that have used software from the Autodesk AEC division include the NASA Ames building, the San Francisco Bay Bridge, the Shanghai Tower, and New York's One World Trade Center.
Autodesk Life Sciences is an extensible toolkit for genetic engineering. It visualises DNA code (Molecule Viewer), and has a tool for writing DNA code (genetic constructor). The tool allows work on molecule-level, rather than nucleobase-level (A, C, G, T) constructs.
Autodesk's manufacturing industry group is headquartered in Portland, Oregon. The company's manufacturing software is used in various manufacturing segments, including industrial machinery, electro-mechanical, tool and die, industrial equipment, automotive components, and consumer products. The principal products are Fusion 360, and its family (Fusion 360 with FeatureCAM,PowerMill,PowerShape, PowerInspect, or Netfabb), Autodesk Alias, Autodesk Inventor, Autodesk Vault, Autodesk CFD (formerly Autodesk Simulation CFD), Moldflow, VRED, and the Product Design & Manufacturing Collection, which includes Inventor Nastran (formerly Nastran In-CAD), Inventor CAM (formerly Autodesk HSM and Inventor HSM), Inventor Nesting, Inventor Tolerance Analysis, and Factory Design Utilities.
Media and entertainment
Autodesk Media and Entertainment products are designed for digital media creation, management, and delivery, from film and television visual effects, color grading, and editing to animation, game development, and design visualization. Autodesk's Media and Entertainment Division is based in Montreal, Quebec. It was established in 1999 after Autodesk, Inc. acquired Discreet Logic, Inc. and merged its operations with Kinetix. In January 2006, Autodesk acquired Alias, a developer of 3D graphics technology. In October 2008, Autodesk acquired the Softimage brand from Avid. The principal product offerings from the Media and Entertainment Division are Flame, and the Media & Entertainment Collection, which include Maya, 3ds Max, Arnold, MotionBuilder, Mudbox, and ReCap Pro.
Revit Live - a discontinued real-time visualization service for Autodesk Revit
Some of Autodesk's "retired" products are listed here:
Lightscape 3.2 Was the world's only radiosity rendering package at the time (1991) developed from work done by Donald Greenberg at the Cornell University Department of Computer Graphics. The problem with this part of Autodesk's history is that it was a time of discovery in computer graphics, and Cornell was one of the birthplaces for the technology. In this sense Lightscape was more than just another product, it was an essential part of the development of rendering technology generally, and part of its evolution. Additionally, the software came from a university research department and represented the start of a development cycle that users the world over were watching closely. Regardless, Autodesk purchased rights to the software and promptly discontinued its sale. A primitive version of the radiosity renderer was incorporated into the companies 3d Studio Max product, while existing Lightscape customers and the product were simply dropped.
Volo View was a web-enabled review and markup tool from Autodesk for engineering data, including support for Autodesk's DWG, DXF, and DWF formats. Volo View enabled design teams to communicate ideas and review designs without access to AutoCAD software. Autodesk discontinued sales of Volo View on May 1, 2005. The latest version of the software, Volo View 3, worked with the following file formats: AutoCAD 2004, DWG and DXF; Design Web Format (DWF 6); Autodesk Inventor 7 IPT, IAM, and IDW and raster files. The functionality of this product is largely replaced by Autodesk DWF Composer (versions 1 and 2) later replaced by the free Autodesk Design Review. Autodesk has also released a free product called DWG TrueView. This product enables users to view and plot AutoCAD DWG and DXF files, and to publish these same files to the DWF file format.
Cyberspace by Autodesk was an early real-time 3D environment capable of producing basic phong shaded walkthroughs of DXF format models in "realtime". No textures were supported, and the system was able to support a maximum DXF model size of around 35 KB. A popular demo model of the Parthenon in Greece was shown around the United States in a tour of the portable demo system – complete with virtual reality goggles.
Autodesk CFD (formerly Autodesk Simulation CFD) includes modeling and thermal modeling tools for architectural and MEP applications. Common applications for environmental sustainable design include mechanical ventilation, external flow (wind loading), natural ventilation, and occupant comfort. Other energy applications include analysis for building energy, solar load, advanced energy and heating and cooling. Autodesk introduced C-FACT, an open-source, science-driven approach to setting greenhouse gas reduction targets, which calls for greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions to be made in proportion to a company's gross domestic product (GDP). Unlike other carbon accounting methods, Autodesk's C-FACT measures carbon dioxide emissions that are proportional to a company's global GDP contribution. Autodesk will derive its own targets using this approach through 2020.
In 2006, Autodesk sponsored a PBS program named e² Design, which focused on green building design around the world, describing the leaders and technologies that drive sustainable design.