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

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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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On May 18, 2014, at 12:24 PM, gpag0nz wrote:

    3D missed its chance. Instead of all the other companies they bought, they should have bought Autodesk or vise versa. They are a natural match. It would have been the door for GE and other major manufacturers.

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Tim Beyers

Tim Beyers first began writing for the Fool in 2003. Today, he's an analyst for Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova. At, he covers disruptive ideas in technology and entertainment, though you'll most often find him writing and talking about the business of comics. Find him online at or send email to For more insights, follow Tim on Google+ and Twitter.

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9/4/2015 3:59 PM
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Autodesk, Inc. CAPS Rating: ***