have bought out Softimage from Avid.
Bad, bad, bad, bad.
I'm not a user of XSi (Softimage's flagship 3d software). Except for reviewing the work of the occasional student who uses it I haven't felt a need to learn it. I've been using Maya for almost 10 years now and it just works for me with all the tools and stuff I have for it. But that's beside the point. As far as I can tell XSi is a solid tool. If there has been one group that has been the leader in innovative ideas for general purpose CG tools over the last few years it's been the XSi team. By contrast the stuff sitting under Autodesk's banner has languished. Except for the occasional tweak here or there, 3DS Max is still basically the same tool it was when I used it at Blur 5 years ago. And Maya hasn't moved very far since Alias sold out to Autodesk a few years ago. Just tweaks and window dressing. Autodesk is where 3d programs go to get stale.
Healthy competition is always better for customers than monopolies- and right now we have a veritable monopoly in the CG animation software business. Autodesk owns 3D Studio Max, Maya, Motion Builder, Mudbox and now Softimage XSi and it's ancillary technologies. What's left out there for commercially available professional level Cg production software? Um.. not much. Yes, there's Z-Brush, Silo, Modo, etc., but those aren't backbone systems, they're specific-use tools. Basically the applications under the Autodesk name represent well north of 90% of the primary programs used in the CG business.
Most Cg products have seen a significant reduction in innovative development and thinking over the past few years, but expect that decline to accelerate. At some point consolidation of development is going to occur at Autodesk and we're going to end up with fewer choices.
If anything this development marks the end of the 'big backbone one stop shop' software solutions for CG. Look for more specific use tools that interface with back bone systems to emerge.