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Design-focused software firm Autodesk has announced a “restructuring plan” as the company looks to expedite its transition to the cloud and a “subscription-based business model.”

As with many such “restructurings,” this means that Autodesk is laying off a significant chunk of its staff — 925 positions, equating to around 10 percent of the workforce.

Founded out of California in 1982, Autodesk became best known for its AutoCad desktop software, but today it produces a range of tools across multiple platforms and design disciplines, and it has aligned itself closely with 3D printing through initiatives such as its open 3D-printing platform, Spark.

Elsewhere, Autodesk also makes what is considered one of the best game engines on the market in Stingray, though it’s competing against the likes of Unity and Unreal, which make their respective offerings available for free.


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A number of tech companies have been laying off staff to cut costs in recent months, from established tech titans such as Twitter to smaller startups such as Mixpanel, which recently lost 20 employees — a move it explained by saying that it had “overhired.” As for Autodesk, it said that it’s looking to reduce its expenditures and reallocate its resources in order to streamline operations.

“As we progress through our business model transition, we continue to take a comprehensive look at our company to see where we can be more effective and efficient,” explained Carl Bass, Autodesk president and CEO. “To realize maximum value for both our customers and shareholders, and as a follow-on to previously discussed cost reduction actions, we are restructuring so we can focus resources on areas that will accelerate the move to the cloud and transition to a subscription-based business.”

While such layoffs may ring alarm bells for some across Silicon Valley, it doesn’t necessarily mean things are desperate within the company — it just means that it’s taking pre-emptive actions before things turn sour. Indeed, Autodesk’s shares, which trade on the NASDAQ, have generally been rising over the past couple of years, though they have seen a small dip in the last few months.

“To be clear, the restructuring announced today is not related to anything we are seeing in the macro-economic environment,” added Bass. “We ended fiscal 2016 on a high note with very strong fourth-quarter billings growth and continued demand for our subscription offerings. Solid revenues, coupled with continued cost-controls, led to better than expected non-GAAP EPS during the quarter. I’m pleased we were able to deliver these results at such a critical moment in Autodesk’s transition.”


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