I haven't posted in a while, but I've certainly been chewing on something that continues to leave a bad taste.
Being fluid in an application is akin to playing an instrument (or learning a language). Is ADSK is deciding that all instruments should have the same UI? That we all should speak the same language? This seems an inane presumption.
Why has the UI been so significantly altered? A few reasons suggested at http://insidethefactory.typepad.com/:
* Make the products easier to learn
To be determined. Why "easier"? What compels me to learn an "easy" tool if I'm not convinced it does what I need? I wouldn't. I'd learn to use the harder tool that will help me accomplish a task.
* Make it easier to switch between Autodesk products
Presuming users care about switching only between Autodesk products that do different things is the first mistake. In any event, we switch between products all the time - from operating systems to applications. They look different. We get it.
* Maintain the productivity of existing users
To be determined. Anyway - why is the ideal to "maintain"? Why not accelerate or enhance productivity?
* Update the Autodesk identity
You are a public company. Your identity is your stock price. Get over it. Investing 2 years improving the UI while not significantly improving what you can do with the UI is wrong headed and inexplicable. How will revamping the UI convince your existing and new customers to buy your product and in doing so increase your stock price? This is your identity.
In conclusion, to hobble design teams with learning another "language" will make them significantly less productive in the short term. If they are 1/2 productive for a month, this represents a annual productivity hit of -4%, which I have to trust will be made up over the year. The UI is interesting but not compelling. What is the trade off? The downside of an learning an entirely new UI is certainly not being offset by long needed functionality enhancements (starting with site tools).
At this time, I find no compelling reason to upgrade to R2010. And if I get the sense there will not be significant enhancements in functionality in the coming years I will absolutely begin to consider other non-Autodesk solutions. There aren't any compelling BIM solutions at present. But this could quickly change as Autodesk has just given a potential competitor a terrific head start.