So...how will this affect Creo Development?
I've known the Onshape folks since they started and tried a very very early version when it was just a basic UX idea and about three tools. In many respects Onshape is a technology demonstrator. Whilst they benefitted from the Solidworks connections and disenchanted SolidWorks users they never really made much of an impact with the core user base (which I think is clear from having just 5000 paying customers). They were always about developing the framework for a system rather than the actual nuts and bolts of the features.
They were always about selling the technology to a larger competitor. It was never going to be Dassault, so that really just left PTC or Autodesk or Siemens. I think the Onshape leaders have done very well indeed in persuading PTC to part with $470m!
I have no idea what they plan to do with it but I can see a few low hanging obvious choices.
1. Move Onshape to Granite so the file format is compatible with desktop Creo (the lack of a user base means they can essentially ignore a lot of the hard work needed with this - backwards compatibility will not be needed).
2. Perhaps offer a SME cloud based platform for data management that is ready to go - Windchill SME or something (and I do think it is the data side that PTC are buying rather than the CAD as this is one area where Onshape really have innovated).
3. 5 years down the line maybe merge with Creo so you have "some" of the Creo package functionality available. Onshape is a very open platform with many add on developers. I'm not entirely sure how that sits with the PTC mentality of having a closed PTC products only system.
Ultimately, who knows. I'm sure the head honchos have a plan that makes sense to value it so highly. Remember when Dassault bought SolidWorks in the late 90s for vast sums people thought they were mad at the time.
I'm surprised more people here aren't talking about this...
I think it's going to help with making Creo a cloud app. For CADmins, imagine not having to assist users with installs or managing build code updates. That would make our lives easier. And no more $3k laptops so people can pull open their models. Just get everyone cheap Chromebooks.
Siemens has already done this with their NX Continuous Release model.
No more versions just a build date change when they roll out a new release.
They are on the 3rd Continuous Release release.
One supposed benefit of Onshape/SAAS is that there is only one version running - the one that runs on the cloud. So you log on and use the CAD system. No worrying about installing different versions, no issues with backwards compatibility (as nobody runs older versions). Which is all great until you get a release where there is a serious bug that causes the history to fail. Let's face it, anyone who has used a history based CAD system knows that upgrading versions ALWAYS throws up rebuild issues.
The golden rule is "don't upgrade your CAD system mid project" - test the new version on a subset of YOUR data then phase it in project by project. Even in our tiny 3 man business we do this.
So I really don't see that as a benefit to actual users. Actual users want stability and reliable file formats, not a constant beta process, which is what this "update every 3 weeks" process actually is.
I think, if anything, this is maybe something PTC can bring to the party as we have found our Creo experience to be excellent for stability. We have had maybe 2 or 3 crashes in 2 years, tand that is running some fairly complex surfacing work. SolidWorks, on the same hardware, crashes 4 or 5 times a week (and that is considered to be pretty good).
What I have to tell all the Onshape users is that their actual CAD functionality is fairly basic compared to mainstream solutions. They are releasing every 3 weeks because they need to ramp up the functionality.
Will be interesting to see how Onshape survives in the PTC eco system, what crosses to Creo and vice versa.