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Jan 12, 2015


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How do you calculate the percents? Do you count with upgrades and with the initial investment? For my company, the rental appears to be cheaper in the period of 6 years.

Malcolm Davies

Ralph and Owen,
Thank you, great information for Autodesk customers!
Malcolm, BricsCAD

Ralph Grabowski

The assumption is: a perpetual license means that the software is purchased once, and then is for perpetuity -- or for as long as the customer wishes.

Plenty of AutoCAD users are happy using old versions of the software, as it is sufficient for getting their work done. Much of the emphasis in the latest releases are not of interest to most users, such as multi-million point cloud processing, non-precise mesh modeling, or frantic changes to the user interface.


So you assume we as customers buy a license and forget it, using the old version forever? I doubt this is a typical scenario.

Ralph Grabowski

There are many scenarios in how customers use software. Which is why Autodesk is better to provide choice, rather than remove choices.

John Corbett

2D drafting with LT. As Ralph states constant superficial upgrades are not relevant to us. Our peer group doesn't upgrade every release, and as long as backward compatibility is mantained we can currently get 5 to 6 years good performance out of the current 'once-off-purchase'. Our current stratigy gives greater stability rather than the working with constantly modified systems with new bugs. It is also a better match with hardware & operating system upgrades.

Sean Mulcahy

I am sure Autodesk would find a way to make a perpetual license useless in a few years so you would have to buy subscription eventually. On the other hand, for perpetual licenses, they also may not offer the service pack to make it compatible with Windows 15 in the future. I guess having the latest software with the subscription, at least I am paying for peace of mind being up to date with the latest Autocad, you just can't fall behind these days as the speed of which new stuff comes out is exponential now.

Kevin Hay

There should have been an additional column in that table showing the annual maintenance subscription cost for keeping the products up to date. Typically this is around 10% of the perpetual licence fee per annum.

Kinda null and void now that perpetual licences are no longer being sold for many products and product upgrades are also no longer being offered.


I think Autodesk is making a big mistake. Lots of smaller companies can't afford this endless, ever faster upgrade cycle. I believe that John walker said, years back, that they shouldn't alienate their original base of small customers, and he said that when there were few alternatives. Autodesk doesn't care about their customers any more, and they've become complacent and greedy. I suppose subscriptions had to come, like forced upgrades, because there hasn't been anything of value in a new release since about 2006, aside from a more and more intrusive interface. This is true of most software - drop back a decade and you'd still be able to get your work done without much trouble. There was a time when the software industry would have taken this as a challenge and come up with innovations that made upgrading attractive, but the prevailing attitude seems to be that the customer is trapped and it's easier to make upgrades unavoidable and costs higher. I'm beginning to look into alternatives.

Derek P

My firm dropped Autodesk for Solidworks/Draftsight for 200 users due to the change to subscription licensing. The reason: potentially losing access to our data

Mike Perkins, Owner, Ch. Engr.

I am one of those small engineered products companies that can't afford to buy these CAD products for occasional use. We have a single user network Lic for Solid Works which we can expand to more users if needed. I would like to have access to some AUTO CAD products for some projects. I have thought for several years why the software companies don't figure out a way to RENT the software to users by the user man-hours. Then, when we get a big project and I need 4 users to develop shop drawings for a project, for only a few months, we just pay for the man-hours of actual software usage. I am sure they can figure out a way to track the hours. Otherwise, when not using the software, it just sits on our server and can be updated as the new releases come down. I would think this would open up a huge new market for the software sellers. My 2 cents.

Johnny Aitken

Personally I think its a rip off, it well over charged anyway and the software ends up a demo if you dont pay your subscription. These people are shooting themselves in the backs beacause people weren't born yesterday and will see this trend a threat and simply stop using it. When my software became out of date with latest OS etc they started asking for a monthly fee which works out a hell of a lot more and you have dept to add to your monthly bills and who needs that? Before we just paid for the software and that was it we used it as long as we wanted and upgraded if we felt it was nessesary, I've simply stopped using their software and gone to Ashampoo instead which is very good company offering various forms of software for various tasks without the monthly fee, you pay a very reasonable price to use the software as long as you want and most people myself included have upgraded many times because its so reasonable, greed dosen't pay in the end.


Actually, I like this option. For small companies it is better for most cases. Considering you don't always need the software and you can pay as you go. So I'm using it this month and next month not, because of this and that.

Another thing is that so, there shouldn't be any incompatibilities anymore between yours and other companies. Everyone will always have the same version.

Of course the downside is for mid-sized and bigger companies, which have people full time employed to work only on designs. They will generally pay a bigger prize.

If they manage to update and keep all the work (the drawings that you and I make) up to date with the newest versions (which I think will be taken care of) we basically get a standard here. No need any more to save in the oldest possible format, which is in my opinion a good thing.

So I would say it's generally not a bad thing.

But in the end it doesn't even matter. It is the decision of Autodesk. Your choice is to take it or leave it. If they get enough or more demand now, they will be able to keep up these prices and they will be happy. Certainly not bothering to withdraw the idea on the base of some angry comments here. :D

Regarding myself, I actually will include AutoCAD now in my arsenal of software.


From experience, upgrades to "power software" like AutoCAD are, in my experience, near worthless. Doesn't the lack of choice bother people? How does "downtime" factor in, when business is slow? From an accounting perspective, with all the "subscription only" deals I have to have in play to run my business, I feel I no longer work for myself (which inspired me to create), I now work to service all my subscription software. I have all the risk, they have none. Sounds pretty ominous to everyone except Huge Business Inc., where the subscription cost can be buried in mediocre accounting. I like and depend on my old AutoCAD. I'm not interested in "new" things cause I just need the old thing to work, every time I need it.
In the pay-as-you-go scenario, mentioned in another comment, if I don't use for a couple months to a year, no doubt the updates which I "passed by" will require time and energy, which costs me, to implement when business picks up again. When business picks up again, I need to do business, not troubleshoot software. The whole "lack of choice" is my biggest problem. If AutoDesk thinks so highly of their software, let me choose between my old license and a subscription. My guess is that the majority of small businesses, like my 1 person shop, would stick with what we know. AutoDesk's action is directly attributable to large corporations deploying hundreds of licenses across their enterprise. So, not only power is amassed to a singularity or chosen few, but now, our creativity is molified by the inability of the small business to maintain all my subscriptions. In the end, you loose individuality and eventually, that lone wolf (Einstein, Pasteur) who saves the race because they can.
One size fits all doesn't work: SEE USSR..

Peter in Maryland

For the 11,456th time: Autodesk is pushing this business model for the benefit of SHAREHOLDERS, not for the benefit of the software users. The GOOD news is that you, too, can become a shareholder - just buy some stock, and you will get a vote. If two million users buy enough stock, in a couple of years they can influence Autodesk company policies like never before.

Until then, one solution might be for companies to allow each other to remotely access Autodesk software that resides on their respective servers, in an effort to defray costs. For example, if Company A has a license for AutoCAD, but only uses it a couple of months a year, it could allow Company B to remote in to its server to use AutoCAD for the rest of the year. At the same time, Company B may have a license for Revit, and it also needs to use 3D Studio, but it cannot afford the license. Company C may have a license for 3D Studio, but needs to use AutoCAD for six months. Company D, meanwhile, needs Revit for one project that will last for four months, et cetera.

If someone were to develop a database and website that tracked these licenses and availability, and no money changed hands, and each company was officially listed in their respective charters as some sort of limited sharing partner, a 'work-around' could possibly be developed that allowed folks to trade software 'license time' with each other. Yes, such a notion may feel like it might be approaching a gray legal area, but necessity is the mother of invention, and Autodesk created this necessity, so we are just inventing a response.


What is my software/perpetual license worth? I have a copy of Autodesk Product Design Suite Ultimate 2012

Frank E

Well, it's here Autodesk maintenance is going away. Greed has kicked in. Get ready to pay 40% more to rent your software. It's the price of monopoly.

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