A few minutes after I exchanged emails with Dominik Hoffmann, the originator of the SolidWorks for Mac petition, I had a chance to speak to SolidWorks CEO Jeff Ray. So I brought up the issue. Here’s our conversation (edited for length and clarity):
Question: What are your thoughts on the Mac platform?
Answer: There are some active, energetic, excited proponents of the Mac platform. I’m one of them; we run our house on Mac. We have lots of Macs in the building, scattered across R&D. We have a lot of love and respect for Mac and the way Apple delivers products.
Q: Does the Mac platform have any advantage over Windows?
A: The [Mac] user interface is what everyone sees and falls in love with, but the real power, I thought, is in the Operating System (OS) and how tightly it’s integrated with the hardware. Things just move faster in a Mac. In theory, a solid-modeler on Mac should be a high-performance product, because Mac optimizes the hardware and the software. Windows is an open platform — software or hardware, anybody can plug anything into it — so that kind of flexibility requires compromise.
Q: What is the possibility of SolidWorks on Mac?
A: For us to play in the Mac space, we have to be every bit as committed to that platform as we have been to Windows. Given the hundreds of developers we have working on Windows, we can’t just go to them and say, ‘Starting tomorrow, you’ll start working on Mac.’ It would be an offense to our subscription customers, who are paying us and trusting that we’re spending their money on what’s important to them. We’ve always been market-driven. When the market votes to do engineering design on Mac, we’ll be there. So far, the market hasn’t voted that way.That doesn’t mean it won’t change — I’m sure the day will come when we port [SolidWorks] to [Mac]. But that day isn’t today.
Recently, Ray began blogging. He revealed he spent at least half an hour a week with Matthew West, SolidWorks’ social media manager, to stay connected to the user community. If you’d like to learn what’s on the CEO-blogger’s mind, read his posts here.
For more on CAD on Mac, read “SolidWorks, OS X, Bootcamp and the Certification Quandary” by Al Dean.