Paying duty becomes a duty
With upgrades due to be eliminated early next year, next up on Autodesk's chopping block is the perpetual license. Here is the exchange from a recent conference call with financial analysts (reproduced with permission of Seeking Alpha):
Matt Hedberg (RBC Capital Markets): Carl, I'm wondering, when might you eliminate perpetual sales? And maybe more generically, what is the framework for eventually pulling this license option?
Carl Bass (Autodesk): I'll ask you Matt, what do you think is a good timeframe to do that?
Matt Hedberg: I would certainly probably depend on the products, but the market generally wants it-- seems to be wanting it sooner than later.
Carl Bass: We’ve been looking at considering it seriously, and we’ll talk again a little bit more about this in October [at Autodesk's annual conference for financial analysts] what our plans are. Right now, we have a fair amount of transition going on in the business with the elimination of the upgrades and certainly inspiring people to action. But as we move into next year, we’ll have more to say on that.
The advantage goes to CAD software companies like Bricsys, whose new marketing campaign emphasizes choice.
I wonder what Mr. Hedberg means by "The market wants it"
I haven't written a letter saying, "Dear Autodesk, I'm a self employed, providing design/drafting services on Odesk. Even though I only use AutoCAD occasionally for translation and legacy support and can't justify the $1250 per year for the dozen or so enhancements in 2017, what I really want is to not be able to use it at all. Up until now, I've generally avoided Draftsight professional because it implements LISP poorly and VBA not at all, but if you were to turn my software kit for AutoCAD 2016 into a souvenir coaster and ant farm, that would motivate me to convert my customization to C++ so that Draftsight was a more capable platform. Having done that, I will certainly avoid considering an Autodesk upgrade or purchase in the future. Given that your trend has been to systematically erode the value your customers secure when they pay a licensing fee, I think I'll feel good about the decision in the long run."
-but I can imagine what it would sound like.
Posted by: John Burrill | Aug 28, 2014 at 06:54 PM
Autodesk customers on another forum are also discussing the end of perpetual licenses. You can read the comments at...
"Autodesk bullyboy tactics look to be getting worse"
Posted by: Ralph Grabowski | Aug 29, 2014 at 07:32 AM
Have you looked at the other AutoCAD clones such as DoubleCAD, Nanosoft, Graebert, and BrisCAD?
Posted by: TonyT | Aug 29, 2014 at 09:27 AM
I see the future - corporations own everything, customers just have rights to rent! They want to free us from any property! Imagine what happened when there is no money to pay the rent - you are left with nothing! Maybe the next step is to rent per click...
Posted by: tero mara | Aug 31, 2014 at 08:02 PM
Tony, I haven't really looked into DoubleCAD or BrycsCAD. After a couple of years away from AutoCAD, I've adapted most of my processes for Draftsight, so I don't have an urgent need for a full API-and since I use SolidWorks for the main part of my job, I don't really miss AutoCAD's 3D and rendering capabilities.
If I had a lot of work converting or improving DWG's, I'd probably look seriously for a better alternative to draftsight.
Posted by: John Burrill | Sep 03, 2014 at 06:46 AM
When Carl says "the market seeks it," the only market I can imagine seeking this is that of Matt Hedberg and his peers...
Posted by: Dylan Gondyke | Sep 05, 2014 at 10:29 AM
Well, to be fair, the financial analyst lobbed this at Carl Bass and as CEO, it's probably expected for him to have an answer for any inquiry-and nobody got rich saying, "never," to an idea. If Matt had asked, "When are we going to get tentacle porn in your software? The market really wants it," Carl would probably have said, "when do you want it?"
The good news is that, for now, corporate monsters are still motivated by money instead of human flesh, so they're only going to go where their paying customers will let them. The rental model has been brought up before, and with the same purpose, to put out feelers and gauge reactions and it wasn't technology that held it back, it was the attitude that, CAD is equipment and in the worst of circumstances, you can still pull your business up by its bootstraps if you have equipment to produce the goods. That's my attitude, so if I can afford it, I'll buy my license. On the other hand, I dwell pretty happily in the rental paradigm when it comes to my dropbox and netflix accounts.
Posted by: John Burrill | Sep 08, 2014 at 08:48 PM
The market wants it? Who is this guy? Certainly no one who has ever created anything on CAD.
Posted by: Craig Hildreth | Sep 10, 2014 at 03:10 PM
In the Oct 1 Autodesk Investor Day presentation, Andrew Anagost says they will stop selling perpetual licenses in the next 12 to 24 months, starting with LT. A slide they show says "Removal of Perpetual Purchases Fuels Long Term Growth".
Posted by: Kent | Nov 20, 2014 at 03:45 PM
Re: earlier post
Andrew spells his last name as Anagnost, I left the second n out in the first post.
Posted by: Kent | Nov 20, 2014 at 03:46 PM