Autodesk to more than triple upgrade prices

Autodesk to more than triple upgrade prices

As reported at, next March will see a major change to the way Autodesk prices its upgrades. All upgrades will cost 50% of the full retail price rather than the much smaller percentage that is currently charged. If you upgrade yearly, that means the cost of doing so will be about 3.35 times greater than it is now. Clearly, Autodesk doesn’t want you doing that, and would much prefer you to be tied into the Subscription program, and is introducing some subtle encouragement to nudge you in the right direction.

Here is the rationale according to an Autodesk spokesperson:

I can confirm that after March 16, 2010, a streamlined upgrade pricing model will go into effect–all upgrades, cross-grades, and retroactive Subscription fees up to three releases back will be priced at 50 percent of a full license.

We are doing this to better match the needs and buying behaviors of our customers. A significant number of our customers have already moved to Autodesk Subscription. Only a small percentage of customers who do not have Autodesk Subscription purchase upgrades every year. Most of those customers upgrade every three years.

We believe that simple, straightforward pricing will help make it easier to do business with us. We also believe the new policy will make it more convenient and cost-effective for customers to keep their Autodesk software up-to-date.

So now you know, it’s being done for your own good. Happy?


  1. I still think the price is too high, even on subscription. But then again, I think everything is priced too high! As long as the subscription price doesn’t go up in 2011, many users won’t be affected. It’s the subscription hold outs that will hate it, but that’s obvious. What would happen if design firms started treating CAD and its users like mechanics? We would have to supply our own tools (like the mechanics do). Can you afford to upgrade your own CAD every year? I would need a raise just to be able to work. Plus, how many people wouldn’t upgrade then? Just a thought.

  2. R. Paul Waddington

    Corrected and re-posted,

    RalphG’s comments are probably closer the mark than Autodesk but heh Autodesk never allows the facts to get in the way of a good piece of marketing spin.
    Software they used to be good at, no more true; but ’spin’ they have become the consummate masters of; practiced a lot telling people how much productivity they would get without ever checking their facts and when challenged about their claims have NEVER been able to validate them.

    Brian Benton touches on a point not missed by many; if Brian is lucky enough to work for a company that supplies the tools he should count his lucky stars and start paying his employer to retain him. There are a lot of guys – individuals – out there that HAVE TO OWN their own software and they will be very disadvantaged by this move. Contractors’ will NOT, NOT, NOT be able to pass this cost on and they will not be earning any more using the latter software. This means Autodesk software could become a business expense individuals/contractors cannot afford. Autodesk loss in one respect but the loss to industry as a whole will be more costly.

    On the other hand if Autodesk were to drop their new ‘licence’ cost to one quarter (1/4) of the current price then they may be seen in a completely different light; not as the taxmen that they appear to be right now!

    As I have already alluded to on RalphG’s Worldcadaccess the power is in users/customers hands, however if they continue to sit on them, as they have done in the past, they ALL will get what they deserve.

    The alternative; STAND UP, SPEAK UP AND BE COUNTED YOU LAZY CUSTOMERS, bombard Bass the Boss, and your dealers, force Autodesk back into the – ‘I’m a tool supplier and must be more considerate of my customers – cage.
    Bass the Boss is the Ring Master of CIRCUS Autodesk and it’s about time he started playing to his audience in preference to eating them.

  3. Ron John

    I know it’s ‘cool’ to bash the big bad corporate companies these days, but I actually ran some numbers on how this price change will impact me. In summary: it really won’t. My two Autocad licenses were purchased two years ago for $8100. At current prices that is now almost $9000. I am on subscription for just over $800 a year which is basically less than 10% of the current price my reseller would charge me for new licenses. Therefore it would take over 10 years of paying subscription to equal the cost of a new set of licenses. Sorry, but I think that is a heck of a deal especially when I get every new release that comes out every year for 1/10th the cost. No, I don’t install a new release every year, but I will probably do it 4 or 5 times in the next 10 years. Plus, right now I don’t have any capital $$$$, I pay for subscription as an operating expense

  4. R. Paul Waddington

    Ron John,
    You have done well: if you bought two full AutoCAD licences two year ago for $8100.00, and your in Australia you purchased at around 60% list price. Your two purchases replacement value is now $14000.00.

    What needs to be also understood is if the subscription price pays Autodesk what it requires as a roi then new licences and upgrade at the current prices return a much great roi. If this is not true then it is right to assume subscription will rise – considerably – once the opportunity is in place.

    Dealing with Autodesk is like dealing with a local council; it takes just one meeting to change all the previous promises and with Autodesk there is a considerable history of this, eg; when Autdesk commenced ‘end of life’ the general manager of the day ‘promised’ to all he spoke to that Autodesk would maintain a seven year/seven version gap. I challenged this comment saying it would be shortened and said why – he VERY angry attacked my comment, my reasoning and accused me of scare mongering – he was wrong on all counts but Autodesk was true to form.

    Something to think about RJ; $800.00 a year for subscription equates, for some individuals, to the equivalent of working for several weeks a year just to pay for the subscription when other costs are taken into account. To maintain software at this level, for some, in relation to the previous ownership of drawing instruments and machines, software is a far greater long term cost without an equivalent or increase in return; despite what is said about productivity improvements it is more expensive to draught with CAD and it will get worse as time and opportunity permits.

  5. Ron, you’re right, if you’re on Subscription this will not affect you. Yet.

    Once everybody’s on Subscription (and that’s clearly Autodesk’s aim here), you will almost certainly be very much affected by it. With an entirely captive user base, there will be nothing to stop Autodesk racking up Subscription prices in the same way. There will be no incentive for Autodesk to provide you with a new release with compelling features every year. There will be no market-based disincentive to Autodesk quietly changing the license agreement, making ongoing Subscription a requirement of continued use (i.e. stop paying, stop using).

  6. R. Paul Waddington

    Steve raises a very important point here, “stop paying, stop using”, and one that has been discussed here at some lenght for quite some time. Indeed there already exist an argument, by some, that the EULA alludes to this fact.

  7. David Aimas

    Subscription price has not changed. It is the least expensive way to upgrade! If CAD enables your business, you should expect to pay for your tools.

    If you do not need new versions, you are free to use the oldest AutoCAD you can find 🙂 And not pay anything yearly!

    The upgrade Pricing for just 1-2 year old licenses not on subscription has changed. Why would anyone want to upgrade a license just 1 year old? Would probably drive your designers mad. Clearly a company is best served with a periodical cycle, like 3 years or so. And guess what? The upgrade price for 3 year old licenses has not changed either.

  8. Pawel Bodytko

    I just checked the autodesk website and learned,that my latest version of Max (8) no longer can be upgraded and I have to buy a completely new license… Wow, what a genius has made this decision! Brilliant financial move!

    If I can help it I will try never to do it. I will keep my old computer and work on it until the keys are worn out. I did not upgrade to version 9 because version 8 did everything I needed. There simply was no need to go through another set of troublesome installations, finding bugs and dealing with them. I don’t work on the Max all the time, use it maybe 10-15% of my workday. There is nothing wrong with the version 8 — the newer features usually added 2-3% value in the past for the kind of work that I do…

    So, I guess autodesk does not want money from customers like me… So be it.

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