How Autodesk, Inc.'s 3-D Printer Rips Off Google

And why that’s a good thing.

May 17, 2014 at 2:30PM


Autodesk is introducing its own 3D printer. Credit: Autodesk.

Autodesk (NASDAQ:ADSK) is entering the 3-D printing market. And to increase its odds of success, the long-time industrial software supplier is borrowing its strategy from Google. Fool contributor Tim Beyers explains the details in the following video.

Autodesk President and CEO Carl Bass took to the company blog on Thursday  to announce the new Spark 3-D printing platform, which includes not only software, but also a reference hardware design for others to copy or improve upon.

"Over the coming months we'll be working with hardware manufacturers to integrate the Spark platform with current and future 3D printers. Both Spark and our 3D printer will be available later this year," Bass wrote.

Tim says it's a smart strategy that's reminiscent of how Google used the Nexus brand to accelerate development of third-party Android devices. Today, the latest research from Canalys and ABI (via Computerworld) shows that 81% of smartphones shipped in the first quarter were Android-powered.

Autodesk would profit handsomely were Spark to achieve similar scale as a tool for creating industrial 3-D models for printing on any platform. To that end, the company is releasing complete specs for the new printer in hopes it will serve as a reference design for 3D Systems, Stratasys, and others to pursue their own models.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. Do you see Autodesk profiting from 3-D printing? Please watch the video to get the full story, and then leave a comment to let us know your take, including whether you would buy, sell, or short Autodesk stock at current prices.

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Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Google (A and C class) at the time of publication. Check out Tim's Web home and portfolio holdings, or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of 3D Systems, Google (A and C class), and Stratasys. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

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David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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