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Microsoft, Autodesk  Broaden Strategic Alliance

An expansion of an existing alliance between Microsoft and Autodesk is intended to enhance productivity in manufacturing, engineering and construction industries.

Autodesk Inc. and Microsoft Corp. today announced an expansion of their existing strategic alliance intended to enable CAD users to more easily create, manage, and share critical design data at every stage of the project and product life-cycle processes. The companies announced the completion of the first phase of the expanded alliance, which includes the availability of new Autodesk DWF (Design Web Format) functionality to allow customers to easily integrate design information from Autodesk applications with Microsoft Office applications and Microsoft Business Solutions-Great Plains and Microsoft Business Solutions-Axapta, now part of Microsoft Dynamics.

As a part of the expanded alliance, the companies also agreed to further align their respective technologies, including expanded Microsoft support for Autodesk's DWF functionality and plans for Autodesk to support Microsoft XAML (Extensible Application Markup Language).

"Microsoft and Autodesk are removing obstacles that prevent people from working together," Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, said in an announcement release by the two companies. "We recognize the important role Autodesk DWF technology plays in accelerating project workflows of many of our manufacturing, construction and engineering customers. By working with Autodesk, we're connecting critical information across the enterprise and entire supply chains -- and enabling our joint customers to become more competitive."

As part of the expanded alliance, customers will be able to search and retrieve DWF-based information, such as land parcel maps and manufacturing product specifications, posted on the Internet using MSN Search. According to a both Microsoft and Autodesk, this development will make it easier for project teams to find critical design specifications and information posted on the Internet.

In the announcement, Carol Bartz, chairman and CEO of Autodesk said, "The expanded alliance with Microsoft ensures that customers have the right data at the right time in their manufacturing, building and engineering projects. Our research shows that design content typically impacts 10 or more members of the project team and it often reaches them through Microsoft applications. By adding XAML support to DWF, Microsoft users with PCs running the Windows Presentation Foundation will have the ability to universally view design-related data as well as manage and share complex 3D design content more easily with downstream, non-CAD users."