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Jan 12, 2015



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.


If you have owned a perpetual license for some years, like me, the annual maintenance cost of $800 Canadian will jump to a subscription cost of $2000 Canadian, a rise of 150%!! And for what? No benefit whatsoever.

Time to move on. To Modo perhaps?

Dan T

Yes I agree it is a rip off. I have the AutoCad LT 2015 which I purchased the perpetual version. I want to upgrade to the 3D version which you now can't buy the perpetual version. I have it on two computers so that means I have to pay $2,352.00 every year. What is this country coming to and when will it stop? Its like the car taxes in Connecticut which we pay every year even after we pay when we buy a car. It is like the Mafia. Pay,Pay,Pay.

Thom Holbrook

A few years ago I bought a car. and at that time I was forced to buy a maintenance agreement which replaced my engine the following year. Not a bad deal. I continued that maintenance agreement every year since and received a new engine every year. If I stopped the maintenance, I still could run the car as long as I long as I wished. Just without a new engine. Now the dealership is telling me that renting the keys will not only get me a new engine every year, but will be cheaper than the maintenance fee. However, if I stop renting the keys, I can no longer start even the old car that I bought originally. This may be fine if the dealer were to refund my original purchase price, but NOOO! They would rather keep that in their own pockets and leave me with a car that now, I'm not allowed to run. I think I will keep the maintenance agreement. That way, when the cost is raised to the point I'm priced out of it, I can still drive with an old engine. (at least until the dealership figures out a legal way to steal my car back :(

Malcolm Davies

Many people are unhappy with Autodesk's subscription policy for AutoCAD as noted here. However, there is a relatively easy solution for many people, simply purchase a "perpetual license" for one of the many excellent DWG-based alternatives. They have come a long way and are worth your consideration. I was speaking to an engineer last week who has been working with AutoCAD for 20 years, she joined a new company and the owner asked her to look at one of the AutoCAD alternatives to try to save money. She said "I was skeptical at first but I m REALLY impressed. I had no idea that there was such an alternative." Yes, everyone dislikes change, but the alternatives are not too different to AutoCAD and many support your LISP routines and all of your files, and there can be substantial financial benefits.


Not to mention all Autodesk products now call home once a month to make sure your genuine.


It's now making sense why Autodesk has never bothered to release a patch that makes the 2016 and below 3D Studio Max compatible with 4K monitors (some icons become imperceptibly small). Another arm-twisting strategy to force you to subscribe.

Prospective Buyer

If I buy a license for Inventor LT and decide not to renew next year, will the software still work so I can still create using the older version ?

D Decker

Still using the old mechanical desktop for my small business. I think I bought it late 1990s. Its on a CD/DVD with codes to install. Had to reinstall Windows XP and disconnect my cad computer from the internet to keep it working. As little as I use it I could not justify a yearly subscription. Software companies have gone insane the last 5 years, including Microsoft. Well the good thing is it will bring competitors. Linux has come a long ways the last 5 years. Maybe thier is hope.

Thirty-two year user.

I'm a sole owner/operator. My Autocad 2005 still works on Windows 10 but slowly and with a few glitches. I got 12 years out of it, and now finally, I am using other CAD software. I work for myself, not Autodesk. Bye-bye Autodesk!

Ian T

I am [was] a 15 year user of AutoCAD LT. It was par for the course when studying engineering at TAFE and working for other employers as a drafty.
Yet now I am a full time carer for my frail aged mother, and only work part time from home (in reality about 2 hrs per week... just to keep my mind honed)... It is impossible to go subscription for the small amount I use... There are alternatives out there. I no longer use Autodesk... Their upgrades were nigh useless for what I do, they have lost me!


I run a small manufacturing business which we reverse engineer and design products. We are new to using cad/Cam software so didn't know which product was best for us. We choose Autodesk after some free trials and we are very happy with the product and support they offer here in the UK. We are running Powermill which has changed massively in the last few years I understand with a new update that has just happened. The changes and updates are only improvements that make it more user friendly and offer new cutting strategies to speed up machining times.
If you haven't tried the Autodesk Fusion 360 software then give it a go, for what it costs it's amazing and they are working on improving this software all the time. Free 30 day trial available.
Subscription is the way all design software like Autodesk will go, so you got to get use to the idea. Plus side is you get updates and support.
I always welcome change if it's improving something, I believe Autodesk are. With Fusion 360 they are offering something that is very affordable to everyone, if you want something more advanced then they offer other software which costs more. Depends on what you are doing.


Sad but then again its Autodesk's ip their rules, if you never read their dumb ninety page addendum its your fault. It simply boils down to this if your using a dinosaur machine and still running non cloud based products, you are pretty much effed its simply how their economics work. Autodesk makes money from subscriptions and their software cycle is tied to that, I don't think any company supports older versions of software they stand to lose more money if they have to worry about forward support for legacy products.

As for Autodesk's subs it currently stands you don't lose your software after its sub ends, however you can't use it professionally and you can't get updates unless you keep the sub going. If you use their cloud services and storage you lose the benefits when your sub ends, it basically defaults you to their free package. Nice business model right there, they hold your work hostage until you resubscribe.


@ Verbatim Just when you thought things couldn't get worse, it's now August 2018 and my Autodesk Inventor 2018 calls home EVERY TIME I OPEN IT. And you thought once a month was ridiculous. It claims that you can operate offline but every time you open it, the license check is carried out and the next time you DO go online, the checks better have been legit or you're done and only mucho time calling and e-mailing them will get you up and running again.

Troy L Cagle

So now Autodesk has removed my original order for my purchased license of 3DS Max 2014 (perpetual license), and also completely removed my AutoCAD 2014 perpetual license from my product lists. Both are now unavailable. Autodesk, in effect, has stolen my perpetual licenses. Granted both versions were 2014 releases but I've spent a lot of money on plugins for 3D Studio Max that no longer work with 2019, 2018 and 2017, which is all they now offer. Dreamscape ($595.00) and Final Render Bundle ($695.00) were two of the most costly plugins that I've purchased through TurboSquid. I've also had every employer purchase 3DS Max (3D Studio MAX) from 1996 until 2016. I've used 2014 for contract work, and midstream during a project for Chevron, on-site and with my own render station around November, after Thanksgiving last year (2018) I loaded a trial version of 3DS MAX 2019 just to see what was new. The result was Autodesk modifying my 2014 version of Max in my order to a subscription and it will no longer load. Now I'm paying $202.00 monthly for something I owned. In total, I've spent around $8,620 just for the big items. Not including all of the small Mental Ray items for 3D scenes for 3DS Max. Autodesk no longer cares for the user as they once did. They kept the price for 3DS Max the same as a core value. It's still one of the most expensive applications for 3D animation on the market following Maya, also purchased by Autodesk, and a few others.
3ds Max $3,675
AutoCAD $4,195
Dreamscape $595.00
Final Render Bundle $695.00

Some have reported receiving checks from Autodesk. It's hard to claim without a copy of the original order as they modify all old orders. I happen to have copies. The war has begun. I'm looking for a class action lawsuit.


Same thing here, I talked to a autodesk rep where I got my copy, about why the product I bought was not available anymore. I bought max 2008 and paid subscription up to 2014, plus all bought plugins that were compatible with 2014.

The problem was that after reinstalling my main pc, I was able to install the software from DVD but it did not activate.
Everyting in my autodesk account is gone, too.

The rep said he can't do anything about that, and his only advice was to use the installed original copy and use a crack to skip activation... I'd never think I will be that mad at autodesk.

Styliana Lee

Im not sure how you have figured this out. I work in the channel and can assure you that subscription is cheaper as we run the costs for clients on a regular basis.

With perpetuals you would of paid a high upfront cost and then paid maintenance on top every year.

Subscription takes away the upfront cost but you just pay a 1 off fee every year similar to the maintenance fee.

If you go with 3 year terms you avoid all price increases and secure a low price and M2S customers get there renewals for half the price of new subs...

Your percentages are wrong

Styliana Lee

One more thing guys... You never actually owned the perpetual licenses.

Everyone thinks they owned this but they didn't. Autodesk own the software, the IP, everything. It is just a purchase of software that they officially own.

You only have to look deeper into legal rights and you'll see subscription isn't really any different.

Ralph Grabowski

Typepad HTML Email

As you work in the channel, you will be biased in favor of Autodesk policies.

You are comparing perm+maint with subs, instead of subs with perm only, as many of Autodesk's competitors offer. Autodesk no longer offers a permanent license, so they are out of the running.

Ralph Grabowski

Typepad HTML Email

You are confusing license ownership with software ownership, which surprises me, given that you claim to "work in the channel."

It is true that the software company owns the copyright on the software, sand o that is why it offers licenses that govern its use. Here is the difference:

A permanent licenses allows the customer to use the software permanently: pay once, use forever (like a book or a car or a dining room table). A subscription limits the time during which the software can be used: fail to pay, don't get to use. 
This Autodesk policy (as well as other CAD vendors, such as PTC) is particularly nasty: should the licensee come into difficult times and not afford to pay the huge annual fee, he is no longer allowed to work in his field -- at least, not work with software from Autodesk. This is like a landlord kicking out tenants who that month cannot afford to pay the rent after 30 days (Autodesk policy is the same: your're out after 30 days)..

Fortunately, alternatives exist.

Ralph Grabowski

Yes, that does work. I last month rented LT for a month. Just remember to go into your account and turn off auto- renew.

Ralph Grabowski

Thanks for that advice, Ralph. That becomes a workable solution for me.
Incidentally, that is the same way I manage my
OnQue software license, a month here, a month there, activated only when I have billable work that requires their software. They make money when I make money.

Peder Rudling
(818) 224-9310 cell
[email protected]


From: Ralph Grabowski [mailto:[email protected]]

Sent: Sunday, September 15, 2019 5:43 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: Re: [WorldCAD Access] Peder Rudling submitted a comment to "This is how much more you'll pay for Autodesk software"



Yes, that does work. I last month rented LT for a month. Just remember to go into your account and turn off auto- renew.


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