∞ Autodesk: Mac App Store sales of Sketchbook Pro soar over 2010 numbers

While they’re not exhibiting at Macworld Expo, Autodesk held a press briefing Thursday morning at a nearby hotel to discuss some aspects of their Mac business for 2011. One interesting tidbit was revealed by Rob Maguire, AutoCAD product manager: In just three weeks, the Mac App Store edition of SketchBook Pro has effectively doubled the total desktop user base. (Autodesk declined to offer hard numbers, however.)

[ad#Google Adsense 300×250 in story]SketchBook Pro is a paint and drawing application, and it’s been rebuilt for the Mac App Store using common code from its iOS counterpart, which Autodesk has also been extremely pleased with since its release: the company counts two million downloads of the iOS version since its release.

Features of SketchBook Pro include gesture-based marking menus; support for pen and tablets; preset brushes, pencil tools, markers, airbrushes, and erasers; editable text layers; full layer control and much more.

Autodesk engineered the Mac App Store edition of Sketchbook Pro to comply with Apple’s developer requirements, which are, as a company representative admitted, somewhat out of the typical comfort zones for Autodesk: For example, Mac App Store apps aren’t supposed to use private APIs, can’t incorporate their own end user licensing agreements, and can’t employ separate copy protection. As a result, sharing code with the iOS version made the process easier, though SketchBook Pro is scaled up to take advantage of the increased processing power and memory footprint of the Mac.

When asked if Autodesk was looking at bringing simplified versions of other apps to the Mac and iOS App Store, senior product manager Rob Hoffman said, “We’ve tested the waters and the waters are good,” though he stopped short of identifying what the company’s next moves might be.

Update (01/29):

The phrase “has effectively doubled the total desktop user base” replaces “sold twice as many copies as the prevision edition did for the entire year.”