The corporate reaction to CAD on the cloud ranges from "it's stupid" (PTC) to "it's gonna make your desktop useage painful" (DS SolidWorks) to "try it now for free" (Autodesk). But none will discuss price.
I figure CAD vendors haven't talked about cloud pricing, because they are desperately trying to figure out how to make it expensive. They have the rest of 2010 and a few months into 2011 to set their prices. Next year, 2011, they have to deliver -- or else find a different "future" technology with which their marketing departments can distract us. (Hint: CAD-friendly Android devices.)
Pricing the Cloud
Let's take a look at what Amazon charges for its cloud service. I'm using them as a measuring stick since (1) they just lowered their prices and (2) at least two CAD-related vendors have indicated that they would either use Amazon or else would have pricing similar to that of Amazon.
Amazon has an array of unit prices that depends on (a) how much storage space you use, (b) the region of the world in which you are located, (c) how much data you transfer, and (d) the number of times you access your data. (See aws.amazon.com/s3.) I'll take 100GB storage in the USA, of which I upload 1GB a day, and I access 5,000 times a day. (There are 220 working days a year, at least in North America!)
Heh: Amazon lets you store as little as a 1 byte!
- Data storage rate is 14 cents per GB/day = $168/year for 100GB
- Data transfer rate is 10 cents per GB = $22/year
- Data access rate is 10 cents per 1,000 = $110/year
Total cost for a modest CAD design office = $300 a year to store and access 100GB of drawings and other data with 99.999999999% durability and 99.99% availability.
The $300 is the base cost; on top of this, the CAD vendors add their software licensing prices.
The problem with the cloud is that nobody significant is doing it in the CAD world. There is no ComputerVision to under-price. CAD vendors who were used to saying, "Buy us because we cost 20% as much as the incumbent" are now the incumbents who have to set the pricing for others to undermine.