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Confusion on SolidWorks on Mac

Once again there is confusion over SolidWorks on the Mac following a report on what was said to another journalist by a SolidWorks employee.

Shortly after our story ran yesterday SolidWorks’ PR department wrote to us to address the issue of SolidWorks running natively on the Mac and any such claim that a native product is in the works. We wrote back that our article was referring to Desktop Engineering’s Kenneth Wong’s story which quoted SolidWorks’ director of technical marketing, Joe Dunne. Here is the quote as written in Wong’s piece:

“We’re working on several concepts. One of those concepts is definitely running SolidWorks as a native Mac app, in addition to the no-install (browser-based) version…So you can run it on a Mac or run on a Mac machine using a browser–take your pick.”

We are here and available to talk to SolidWorks Corporation about what their future product plans are. I guess the word “working” is the key verb in the remark by Joe Dunne of SolidWorks above. How does one work on the concept of a native Mac application? That could just involve non-programming planning. More likely however it involves software programmers digging into the technical details of making such a port over to Mac OS X feasible.

I personally had the chance to talk to a software developer last night who utilizes the Parasolid geometry modeling kernel. The same kernel behind SolidWorks. He noted that changes to that kernel that could affect his Mac application are important. Some types of key changes could very well indicate that another licensee of the kernel is at work in the Mac space. He noted that some such changes have been recognized in the recent past.

Keeping it Fair to the Community

We weren’t at SolidWorks World. We’ll take Kenneth Wong’s word that the eruption of applause concerning Jeff Ray’s comments about cloud, multi-touch and Mac futures with SolidWorks’ technology was indeed correct. The blog posts seem to back up the enthusiasm that the product design and SolidWorks community does indeed wish to see a Mac version in the future.

The way SolidWorks is handling this is consistent with what we have seen with developers in the past who were working on Mac versions of their software in secrecy and wished to “manage” that process. Of course the community loves it when companies say they will do “X” and deliver it. Their care in managing this is likely an indication of just how complex their initiatives really are and they wish to not promise the community anything they can’t in the end deliver. Not because they can’t but because they may have chosen not to. Not letting a customer base down is an important part of what you say about your company and its products.

On the other hand, SolidWorks may simply wish to keep its main competitors in the dark as much as possible. And every company deserves the right to its secrecy. We expect to hear from the company later today. We look forward to sharing what we learn.

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