Autodesk Location Services Burn Too Much to Bear?

Along with the announcement to layoff 750 across the board, Autodesk has also decided to abandon the Location Services business unit.  The group was not only a money pit, burning upwards of $30M/year between 2001 and 2005 on marketing without ROI (so I'm told), but they've missed the pattern with platforms that serve up location as a Web service to developers when the tech trend is moving towards a client-based approach free of network controls.  On a personal level, it's sad news. I have two long-time friends that might be affected by this and wish them well and all the best.  I suspect they'll land somewhere else within Autodesk given their GIS backgrounds, or assume well deserved, worthy roles within the acquirer-company.   

Autodesk's run in this area couldn't last forever. While competing with them, I had a conversation with ESRIs President about Autodesk's marketing spend and how it was impossible to compete against.  One year they bought out CTIA Wireless IT and draped the entire facade of the Sands Expo with a giant, football-field-sized banner ad. That year, they were spending 99% more per year than ESRI in LBS marketing, but ESRI remained conservative. The irony is that today ESRI is hiring hundreds, while Autodesk is selling its LBS business and cutting back in other company areas.