Stefan, there's a lot of unemployed Soft guys down here in Paris, everybody has to move to London to be able to use a skillset that is over 10 years worth for most of them.
Most of Soft companies over here switched ( painfully for some of them ) to Maya because AD made Soft literally disappear from their catalog.
Financial people usually don't have a clue and don't really care of how advanced a software is compared to another.
What do you think they tend to decide when it comes to licensing and support renewal for an over 2k/seat software solution that is not even mentioned by the res-sellers because they are heavily advised not to ?
Over here we don't have much of a choice anymore, we have to go and find a job somewhere else or get used to workaround maya all day long.
Some of us can do it because it pays the bills, some others cannot. In any case, passion tends to vanish.
I've personally been around for way over a decade now and I can tell there's always been some competition and technological choice, except from the past 4 years.
We had Explore vs Soft|3D, Explore vs Power Animator, Soft vs Maya, Max vs Maya, XSI vs Maya, Maya&Max vs XSI.. and then the 2008 deal went down.
The mainstream CG world got paralyzed since then and reached a uniformity I still cannot imagine happening in the 2010's.
Even Maya people are not happy with this situation, more and more of them start thinking that ever since AD bought their main competitor, big DCCs have reached a huge stagnation that benefits to no one, not even AD.
Please AD, bring Soft back to a decent and fair exposure, at least closer to the one it deserves or sell it back if you're embarrassed.
I'm sure there's a lot of interested and rich people who would buy it, you'll make money out of your 2008 deal and you'll make anger go down.
Everybody knows ICE integration in Maya would have been done already if it was as easy as you guys thought when you closed the deal with Avid.
Just get inspired by the concept, help yourself with the code, hook it up to your weapon and get ours back to light. Just get the party started again, I'm sure you'll feel unexpected benefits.
Give back the choice of interaction model to people. This is more the center of the debate than the actual technological value.
Both packages have their strengths and weaknesses but please let people choose, a lot of them are artists, not only technicians.
Don't wait until someone comes up with a high performance DCC-like suite made with Fabric Engine or whatever, because a this point, more people than you expect will jump on it and the downhill might be steep.
Maya might end up just as a keyframing tool that allows a producer to line up 50 animators on the spot without any training costs. All the TDs that have been building it's worth for years deserves better.