Autodesk perpetual license owners to get screwed big-time

Autodesk perpetual license owners to get screwed big-time

Hidden in amongst a bunch of the usual highly dubious subscription statements from Carl Bass is an announcement that spells doom for Autodesk perpetual license owners. I will resist the temptation to skewer Carl’s spin (for now) because this announcement is much more important:

Bass also confirmed that the company plans to converge the two existing subscription models — maintenance and product subscriptions — into a single offering over the next two years. “If you look out to fiscal year 2020, we want to be in a place where, first of all, we have a single kind of offering with a single back office and infrastructure to support it, one that will be a combination of product subscriptions as you see them plus a consumption model on top of it. That’s where we see the business heading.

“Along the way, it’s how do we motivate customers to move from one model to another in the program, what are the price points, and how does that transition work? In our mind, getting to a single model is really important. It will give the best service to our customers, it will be the most affordable for us to have, [and] we can start getting rid of some of the systems that were designed for a different era and concentrate on giving a world-class experience to users.”

Translation: Autodesk is going to drive up prices of maintenance subscription (perpetual license keeping-up-to-date fee) to match the much higher prices of product subscription (rental). Maintenance subscription will then be merged into oblivion. Your return on your long-term investment in Autodesk software will be zero. Your reward for decades of loyalty to Autodesk will be to have your software costs blown through the roof.

If you’re not already making plans to abandon the Autodesk ship, you really need to do so now. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Don’t say Carl  didn’t warn you.

Get out or get screwed big-time. I mean, get out or get motivated to transition into a world-class experience.


  1. You’d have to be living under a rock to not see this coming. It’s always been a matter of when, not if.

    I still say this will have an almost zero effect on the customer base as a whole. A few small shops may jump ship, but the rest of the customers are on board this cruise for the duration.

    1. Oh yes, I certainly saw it coming. From Battle of the Bullshit part 2 – Autodesk’s sophistry

      Based on what Autodesk has done in recent years, it is a pretty safe bet that the cost of maintenance (formerly called Subscription) is going to rise, and rise sharply. Give it a few years and I expect maintenance customers will be paying the same as rental customers. I expect other strong-arm methods will be used to “encourage” people onto rental. When this happens, our perpetual licenses will be near worthless…

      1. Adesk User

        I bought a Product Design suite Ultimate licence for £9600 + VAT in 2013 for Inventor mainly, but also for all the applications on offer in that current suite and have paid the maintenance annually in order to get the latest fixes and enhancements. What has concerned me during this time is how different programs have been dropped and added year on year, just as you become productive with them and add them to your workflow, creating said assets i.e. Alias, Showcase.
        I have now upgraded, if you can call it that to PDS 2018 without these latest programs as originally required. Although you do have access to earlier releases for period of 3 releases back at any time. I therefore now have a limited period left to access these files.
        Unfortunately I was not aware of any small print about changing of the suit programs that enable Autodesk to reduce the programs to my licence agreement.
        With the incentives to push maintenance customers onto subscription collections, will programs be dropped from collections so that you may need to individually subscribe to programs separately like what has happened with Alias studio tools, whereby this is now a separate subscription to continue using latest version?
        It appears the end user and customer needs to take these into consideration for what might happen in the future going by current and previous initiatives.
        My licences are up for renewal and feel forced to look at the competition offerings going forward, because I am worried about future pricing and some trust has been lost whilst now also having concerns about how I invest my time in learning suite/collection program offerings.

    2. Really? I’m sticking with 2016 for perpetuity. Most functionality is achieved through 3rd party plugins and Autodesk hasn’t innovated enough to get perpetual-licence-holders to jump ship to the rental-model. 3ds max 2018 onwards will have to be absolutely amazing for Carl Bass’s plan to work or people will just stop the maintenance-payments and make do with the version they have. Once you stop the maintenance payments, you are stuck with the version you have with no option to upgrade. This means that the rental-only scheme loses existing perpetual-licence customers, perhaps forever.

      1. Josef Wienerroither

        Definitely true for the current renting rates. 3ds Max is – what ? 200€/ month ? Insane, AD heads are totally out of their minds if the really believe that the majority of maintenance customers would rent into that

    3. Ray Longmoor

      We have 50 AutoCAD perpetual seats and due to the change in subscription we have decided the best action is to stop paying the subscription altogether, as theses licenses are perpetual and as long as the hardware and operating systems support them I cannot see the value in spending @ £101,475 to keep the licenses on subscription for 3 years then take the huge hit the next time we renew, This loss of revenue is a drop in the ocean for Autodesk but if enough companies adopt the same stance then it will start to hurt. The version of AutoCAD we use is AutoCAD 2017 running on a 64 bit Windows 10. We decided to continue to run AutoCAD but off subscription until we are forced to move to either AutoCAD Vxx or to another platform altogether.
      Since our decision AutoCAD have contacted me a number of times asking why we have not renewed and each time I have told them it’s not good value for money any more, the last time they contacted me they started to talk about discounts, We have been an AutoCAD house for many years and I have seen the price we pay in subscription rocket. So in summary if you have to use AutoDesk products and you have perpetual licenses I recommend that you continue to run your existing AutoCAD’s for as long as the hardware will allow and at that time re-evaluate what CAD package you want to use.

      1. Ed van der Maarel

        That is exactly what we have done within our small firm. In the meantime, we are testing or software and plan to transition.

        We spent $ 30,000 over 5 years for absolutely nothing. What we did see was the inclusion of our ideas that we self programmed being instituted into the new versions, so in essence paying for our own ideas. It is just a drafting program, nothing more.

        We have also decided not to pursue Revit since ist is an AutoDesk product.

        We really have no choice.

        1. We have 21 Copies of AutoCAD 2008. That’s enough for us. We asked for Activation Code for one installation recently, in Sep 2019. They have communicated that they stopped supporting from Aug 2019.
          They are under perpetual Licence. We should unite and fight.
          Looks like Autodesk is running out of business. They are devising ways to extort the old customers..

      2. Ed Vandermaarel

        Due to the high cost of AD Products that is exactly what we are doing. We are having great success testing BricsCad which runs *.dwg and opens an AC file much faster than AC. We will see what happens but we are on our way to converting. After all it is still just a drafting program utilizing LSP ideas we architects created.

  2. There are those users who need/want latest release, and so are on-board. There are others who buy one copy, use it for what they want, and never need to update. The problem for Autodesk is that the proportion of these users is roughly 50/50.

    1. Brian Myers

      The question is if that 50-50 is an actual problem or a change in strategy? A one time purchase is just that, one time, vs a more continual revenue stream with additional “pay for use / per project” type users. The gamble is that the sum of these paying clients offsets the loss in the one off / 2D AutoCAD markets.

    2. As the rate of improvement in AutoCAD has slowed to a trickle over the last few years (and several things have got worse), I’d say that 50/50 is being very generous in terms of those who need/want the latest release. These days people keep up to date because that’s what they have always done, not because it makes sense. Autodesk is now forcing customers to actually think about whether they need to keep up to date. I expect Autodesk to be very uncomfortable with what the majority of customers decide.

  3. The cusotmer base is changing rapidly, look at the sales numbers:
    – a lot of loyal (maintenance) customers are decreasing/abandoning their contracts
    – a lot of new (no incentive to be loyal) subscription customers
    – a significant relative decrease in revenue in EMEA/APAC over several quarters
    – a significant relative increase in revenue in Americas over several quarters
    – an increase in direct to customer sales, by ADSK webshop and sales staff (ADSK resellers inclined to look elsewhere for business and take their customers with them)
    – a significant decrease in AutoCAD/LT sales

    Compare this with increasing sales numbers & increased offerings from DS, Nemetschek, Bricsys & Zwsoft and you get the whole picture.

    If these trends continue, by FY 2020, the average ADSK customer will be a different type of company in a different part of the world.

  4. The interesting thing is $1000 a year for civil3d maint sub is pretty easy to justify. When you jump to $2500 for rental, it does start to become something you think about. The first stage of minimizing adesk products has already begun with several civil companies I know. They stop giving everyone civil3d, and limit it to only those that actually use it. The rest get AutoCad. The next step is to get the acad users to bricscad, and the Civil3d users to civil software for bricscad. The guys from Australia that write what used to be ADR, have adapted it to bricscad and US design patterns. That is a real alternative to Civil3D, even if you use autocad. The fact is, any software vendor makes Autodesk service look horrible. That is sad, as the technical people at Autodesk are great. The organization just got too big and now its all about pleasing internal review instead of true customer review.

    1. The software James is referring to is Civil Site Design, a major upgrade to the original Advanced Road Design software. It runs with Civil 3D automated curb returns and improved stability. It will also run with AutoCAD and BricsCAD where it adds its own surface engines and alignments..

  5. Chris

    Carl Bass is a c…

    [Edit – sorry Chris, but I’m going to have to slice through your comment for your and my legal protection. Feel free to put forward your views strongly, but without the libel – Steve]

  6. Just had an odd thought. What are the tax ramifications of this wonderful rental scam? I can depreciate the initial cost of a perpetual license over five years. If I was able to later sell that zero value license, that would become income/capital gains. What’s the skinny on rental expenditures? Can’t buy it, there’s no tangible value, can’t sell it. Is this fixed expense now a small tool that’s 100% depreciable every year? To me that means that rental is a zero cost misadventure from day zero. Anybody know the (USA) rules? I could buy lunch for the accountant, but it’s one in the morning and he has a personality problem. Thanks. Curious in California…

    1. Of course, you can’t sell that zero value license.

      I’m in the wrong country and no accountant, but here software rental can be deducted in full immediately, just like maintenance on that perpetual license you bought (and deducted the initial purchase price of) years ago.

      Full deduction is a long way from zero-cost, of course, it just means the rental cost comes off your taxable income. Unless you’re being taxed at 100%, that means you’re still out of pocket. The extra cost of rental means you’re a lot further out of pocket.

      Let’s say annual maintenance on your software is $765 and your company is taxed at 30%. You lose $765 and get $229.50 back eventually in reduced tax, so the net cost is $535.50, ignoring a bunch of things (cost of money, retail taxes).

      Let’s say annual rental on your software is $2360 and your company is taxed at 30%. You lose $2360 and get $708 back eventually, so the net cost is $1652, ignoring the same things.

      Extra net cost of rental = 1652 – 535.50 = $1116.50

      It’s just over 3 times as expensive to rent.

      Usual disclaimers apply. YMMV. I’m not an accountant. Don’t take my advice.

  7. See what happens when you rely on the Cloud for math instead of fingers. With LA’s 9.5% sales tax and my average 28% businesx taxes I’d still save nearly 23% off retail. Even at 48¢ per billable hour, rental would eventually cost twice as much.

    ‘Course, potentially I’ll have turned 92 by then and none of these current tragic events will put me off my nap.

  8. Steve

    Just got prices in for my Autocad Advance Steel maintenence plan at £1400 per year. Annual subscription for same software is £2000 per year. Looks like both plans will be aligned in price very soon.

    Considering I invested £7.5k in my licence 2 years ago not best pleased.

    Screw autodesk. I will be using my licence on its current version for as long as possible. Once obsolete, there are plenty other options. They will not be getting one more penny from me.

    1. Paul

      I mentioned the above posts/blog which I came across by accident to the account manager of my Autodesk reseller, she’s pretty much comfirmed that’s they way things are heading. Like others on here, I’m not best pleased either as I’m a one man band & I’m still paying for a BDSU perpetual license & 3 year maintenance package from Oct 2015 to become BIM compliant. In addition I also own an LT perpetual license in current subs which I’ve owned since 2009. She also stated there is some announcement from Autodesk that she was embargoed from releasing until after 2nd March………

      Like others have suggested on here, the differences between the annual Autodesk releases are not worth the money we are charged for them, with very few additional useful features being add. Like others have suggested on here, I will also look to utilize my perpetual license for as long as physically possible without giving Autodesk another penny, once it gets to the point where it causes frequent problems, I will mostly likely look at alternative options over taking an Autodesk subscription.

      1. Paul

        And here’s the confirmation email from Autodesk:

        Important Update


        We want to take a moment to share the direction Autodesk is heading—some upcoming changes that will affect your maintenance plan—and a special offer to move to subscription that you may want to consider.

        We believe that subscribing is the best way for you to get the greatest value from our tools and technologies—and will fundamentally change how we deliver extended capabilities and new functionalities through connected services. That’s why we’re on a path toward becoming a subscription-only company. We will continue to invest heavily in our subscription offerings, to provide you with greater value through the following benefits:
        • Latest and greatest product capabilities – Get access to Autodesk’s ongoing stream of innovation, updates to core products, cloud services for desktop products, and additional capabilities as soon as they are available, at no additional cost.
        • Access to new industry collections – Available only through subscription, you’ll realize significant savings when you need two or more Autodesk software products.
        • New and improved support – Enjoy faster response times and the option to receive help by scheduling a call with Autodesk technical support specialists.
        • Simplified administration – Access tools that streamline deployment and software management when you standardize all of your Autodesk products on subscription.

        With our move to subscription, one thing has become clear to us—managing two business models (subscriptions and maintenance plans) is quite costly. To continue supporting maintenance, beginning May 7, 2017, renewal prices will increase by 5% in 2017, 10% in 2018, and 20% in 2019. Also, you should be aware that maintenance plans can now only be renewed for one year at a time.
        Now that we’ve shared the direction we’re heading, we’d like to talk to you about a special offer to help you join us on the path toward subscription—one that recognizes your loyalty and the value of your previous investments. Beginning June 2017, you’ll be able to move your products on a maintenance plan to a subscription for up to 60% less than the cost of a new subscription. This discount will decrease by 5% in 2018 and another 5% in 2019, so the earlier you switch to a subscription, the less it will cost—and the more you’ll save compared to those who wait to move, or choose to stay on maintenance. When you make the switch, you’ll also be able to lock in your discounted price for up to three years and continue to receive discounted pricing for as long as you renew.
        We know you’ll probably have questions. These are big changes that we’re prepared to walk you through. Please see the FAQ for additional details and contact your Autodesk Sales Representative or Autodesk Reseller to discuss the options that best suit your technical and business needs.
        Whether you choose to switch to a subscription or renew your maintenance plan, our promise is to continue to provide you best-in-class software, services, and support.

        Teresa Anania
        Sr. Director, Subscriber Success

  9. Alex
  10. Paul

    This must the funniest section from the above Austodesk FAQ weblink,

    2.1 How will maintenance plan customers benefit from switching to subscription?

    It looks like even Autodesk are struggling to think of any benefits for customers to switch from a Perpetual License on Maintenance to a Subcription – do they really think that owners of Perpetual Licenses are going to trade them in for subscriptions and allow Autodesk to have us by the balls???

    At least those of us with Perpetual Licenses don’t have to continuing paying for Maintenance renewals or switch to Subscription even when Maintenance Plans are eventually phased out. We’ll be able to enjoy a few years of fee free software until such time that our software becomes obsolete……

    1. Kathy

      I have photographs of all inconsistencies that occur when I load Revit 2008 on new hardware. Small shop or large shop, it is wrong for Autodesk to assume we should bear their problems of “a change in the business model” and the expense of maintaining old license verification software. We paid five figures for the right to use this software.

  11. Ron

    Everyone is rightly upset with this turn of events. I suggest that you also take your concerns to the official Autodesk forums for the various products you use. (Not just the subscription forum.)

    One aspect that I have seen no discussion of is one’s long term access to his (or his company’s) ***intellectual property.***

    The cost of high end software is significant, but the cost of producing “content” is much, much greater. If you are a free-lancer you might not care as much, but if, for instance, you are a manufacturer with CAD/CAM models that you need access to for, perhaps, decades, you had better be thinking about even being able to get to your own designs in the event Autodesk decides to discontinue a product.

    DON’T trade in your perpetual licenses and tell anyone thinking about beginning to use Autodesk products that they should think long and hard about their need to ensure long-term access to their creations.

  12. Paul

    I agree with Ron. Business owners need to take note that the rental of software gives no guarantee that you will have access to your old data. What if you miss a payment? No access to data.

    Our experience with the Adobe rental model is that we no longer have access to 12 year old PDF’s because the new PDF software no longer recognises them. Having and holding on to a perpetual licence means at lease we can guarantee access to our IP.

  13. Vern

    Let me see, the cost of a maintenance subscription is currently $545. It increases %5 in 2017 to $572.25. 10% in 2018 to $629.48. finally 20% in 2019 to $755.38. Excuse me, but am I missing something here, is this not still much cheaper than a subscription based fee?

  14. Paul

    I had a long phone conversation with Teresa Anania from Autodesk yesterday. She called me about comments I left on her Autodesk blog post. I’m a Revit user and she could not understand why I was so concerned about losing access to my files if I moved to subscription for a few years and then stopped. “You would still have your old licence to access your files – we don’t want you original licence back.” Well, that’s a change in the story but I said that is still no good as Revit cannot backwards save to an older version. As soon as I upgrade my Revit files to a version newer than my permanent licence, I have lost access. Surprisingly, Teresa was not aware of this and understood my concerns. She now wonders how many other Autodesk offerings are not backwards compatible. What about the software you use?

    1. Perhaps Teresa should read her own FAQ. You clearly have to trade in your own license, although that little detail is missing from her letter. And she doesn’t understand version compatibility issues? Really? Is the person trying to sell these changes really that poorly informed? Honestly?

  15. Markus Schille

    My company has a single user license for Product Design Suite Ultimate on maintenance subscription. The thing that differentiated the “Ultimate Suite” from the “Premium Suite” when we bought it was that Alias Design was included. Today I learned (from AD support) that Alias Design 2018 is not included in PSDU 2018. (!)

    It’s probably some fine print somewhere in the contract saying Autodesk can do whatever they want etc etc, but it is a huge breach of trust. It was the only extra thing in the Ultimate suite we paid extra for. By keeping maintenance we have basically been downgraded to the lower tier “Premium Suite” (or was it standard suite, I don’t remember).

    I guess raising the prices on maintenance isn’t the only thing they can do. If you have a Suite they can also remove essential software from the suite going forward, so in the future your suites are going to be worthless! I am so frustrated for being an Autodesk customer right now!!

  16. HEHE

    Welcome to Stalindesk please choose a perpetual or subscription, please choose length of 1 year 9000 years, please choose payment of method, please understand all cloud uploads are automagically deleted every two week, please realize our software snoops on it’s paying customers and forces more payment options and methods for rent.

    Please make sure you insured trusted comrade!

  17. Leif Gunnar Karlstad

    Hi, I have started a smal architecture company in Norway and are really chocked of the subscription cost for Revit 2018. In Norway the cost ex VAT would be around USD 3.500,- for a 12 month subscription periode. Its crazy. They try to push Revit LT on me but Im not interested in specializing in a crippled software as I try to expand my business. My first year i could draw around 10 houses at a SW cost of USD 350,- for each house – Autodesk is like the new mafia – greed is good. Would it be possible to buy an US software and use it in Norway ? Any good ideas would be appreciated.

    1. Steve Johnson

      Autodesk doesn’t permit the use of North American licenses outside North America. However, you may be able to use software from the EU. I have no idea how Norway’s non-EU but EEA and EFTA member status affects the option described in this post:

      You can still buy Autodesk perpetual licenses in Europe

      There is an EU ruling that prevents Autodesk’s anti-free trade practices from having any effect in the EU. I suggest you check with your appropriate government body whether you can also take advantage of this protection.

  18. Stephen Browne

    The market for CAD is saturated and there are only two possible methods for CAD suppliers to maintain growth in their revenue streams. One is to increase prices and the other is to increase market share for their products.

    Autodesk has chosen the former and they are implementing this method by coercion and stealth. That is to say they are financially bullying users with perpetual licences to move across to a term rental agreements. Autodesk has signalled that once customers are on term rental agreements they intend to rapidly increase prices at a rate much greater than inflation.

    I believe Autodesk has chosen to increase prices as opposed to increasing market share because the quality of their product has only improved marginally over the last decade and they have neglected address deficiencies and bugs in their software making it unattractive to prospective buyers (or should I say renters) to switch platforms. Point in hand – our office uses Sketchup (free version) to model terrains and create curved sloping walls and then import them into Revit. This is because Revit after 10 years of asking by multiple users Autodesk has not addressed this and many other deficiencies in its products.

    This is a classic example of economic rationalism – when revenue goes down put prices up to maintain a status quo in the bottom line. I think that our only hope is that the luddites at the top of the Autodesk management ladder will soon be replaced by a much better attuned generation of managers with real world experience. Autodesk is a monopoly (4 or less major participants in a market) demonstrating the worst attributes of monopolies.

    Perhaps we will be saved by Elon Musk if he starts up Cad X and produces a truly functional product with a keen eye for value. Sorry for the comparison but I believe Autodesk to be the Boeing in this case and we the customers are the US government who are treated as having unlimited access to funds.

    1. Kathy Miller

      Please reply by November 30, 2019 if you are interested in joining a group to challenge autodesk. Your Perpetual Revit software will not allow you to save your work after your current hardware expires. It should not be made our problem that Autodesk did not make enough profit. We purchased in good faith and need to require that Autodesk release the license verifications and code generation requirements now that they are not supporting their product. If Autodesk changes their name or starts to sell off portions of the company it will be too late for the laws to protect those who acted in good faith expecting a level of continued value for a product.

      1. Dear Kathy Miller,

        I support you on the mission. Let us fight.

        We have total 21 Copies of AutoDesk Products.

        Architectural DeskTop ( ADT) 2005- 1 Copy
        Sl No. 342-21288512

        AutoCAD 2006 LT – 10 Copies

        Bundle perpetual Licence – 5
        Sl No. 344-16177150
        Bundle perpetual Licence – 5
        Sl No. 344-16177942

        AutoCAD 2008 LT – 10 Copies
        Individual Installations- Perpetual Licence

        Sl No. 347-88553123
        Sl No. 347-88554509
        Sl No. 347-88566880
        Sl No. 347-88574897
        Sl No. 347-88561140
        Sl No. 347-88552331
        Sl No. 347-88552727
        Sl No. 347-88549955
        Sl No. 347-88550252
        Sl No. 347-88550648

        with regards,
        Dr. Premanand Shenoy PhD

  19. Chris Mast

    I just could not take it any longer. With over twenty years as a loyal user I have decided not to invest any more time or money into Autodesk products.

    The constant anxiety that it caused me is just not worth it any more. Everything about Autodesk’s business practices for many years has given me pause and the final straw was the end of perpetual licenses.

    As I have seen some of our first production and shop drawings done with our open source alternative, all I feel is a sense of relief that I no longer am chained to a behemoth of company that sees me as nothing but an ATM machine.

  20. Alun

    I’m once again dreading discussing renewals with my boss as I don’t have a good solution to Autodesk’s planned gouging of loyal customers.

    I’ve used Autodesk products for around 25 years and have witnessed a gradual decline in service & quality versus a constant increase in costs.

    We currently have 9 suites here which include around 9 products, of which we predominantly use Autocad & Inventor. We pay an additional fee for Vault Pro. Previously we purchased suites as it was cheaper than purchasing the items individually. The new suite has no less than 17 products of which we will use only 2 or 3. Why would I need 4 versions of Autocad and all the other extras included?

    When Autodesk first announced the change in subscriptions, it was mentioned by my reseller that there would be an option for purchasing customized suites which did not contain software which was of no use to our organization, but that too has been shelved!

    So now I have to go and try justifying these huge increases in overheads to my boss in what is already a tight economy.

  21. Copy of my email to our CAD supplier

    Hi Jill,

    What a crock of shit.

    If your organisation and Autodesk want to divest themselves of perpetual licenses to increase your profit and return then buy our perpetual licences back for what they cost us and we will happily switch to subscription.

    It would seem to me that this is discriminate and predatory price which should be referred to the ACCC.

    I note from the FAQ posted by Autodesk that they state the subscription cost to previous perpetual licences holders will be substantially less than new subscriptions, but make no commitment beyond three years.

    If that is the case why have Autodesk not committed to a percentage discount on normal subscription? From what I have read there is no commitment other than this general phrase.

    If they are genuine in maintain the benefit for clowns like us who have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars with you and this these bandits, in buying licences and paying annual maintenance, don’t you think it would be reasonable to give us a firm commitment to the saving rather than expecting us to TRUST yopu and Autodesk.

    It seem to me the most prudent approach would be to cease making any payments and stick with Revit 18 as our Cad base as there have certainly not been any upgrades in recent years that have delivered any sort of return on the fees paid to you and Autodesk.

    Given there is no firm tangible benefit being offered to perpetual holders other than a pissy three year saving that only exists because Autodesk are indiscriminately increasing the maintenance costs to force perpetual licences holders to write off there significant capital investment, what actual benefit is being offered for us to surrender the hundred of thousands of invested dollars.

    Given that I have no direct relationship with Autodesk but have one with your company it seems the logical progression is to report Cadgroup to the ACCC for predatory pricing, price gouging and price fixing.

    Perhaps you might raise these points with Autodesk and provide their response. Particularly why they are not prepared to back up the statement that we will enjoy a “substantial” discount on subscription after the three years by committing to a percentage discount on the normal subscription costs.

    This at least would ensure that the loyal saps who have parted with hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy and maintain perpetual licences are at the very least not screwed over more than the subscribers.

    I look forward to your written response as soon as possible so we can decide the most prudent way forward.


    Steve Turner

    1. Kathy Miller

      It is possible that Autodesk is letting people know they cannot uphold former perpetual agreements because of anticipated financial difficulties. I will organize a group of Perpetual license owners whose licenses have not met Autodesk’s new commands and begin talks attorneys about the fact that autodesk has shut down all communications with all perpetual license holders. Send your year and type of product perpetual stand alone license and your state or country, if and when you received written notification of these changes directly from Autodesk, your terms and conditions, maintenance, subscription or never updated, info., number of stand alone licenses, contact and email and other helpful info. They talked many into the new features but there have been other publications analyzing the “benefits”. Autodesk statement about older versions being too difficult to maintain is not a valid reason to end a perpetual license agreement in my state.

  22. Frank Zmuda

    I have been using AutoCad since version 12. I am 70 years old and work when a project interests me. I teach a few classes now at various universities and colleges. But I have noticed especially with Revit when I do work at home with my Building Design Suite Premium and then open it up in class there are always subtle problems that arise. Mostly in Revit. The student and education versions I have a feeling are not quite up to muster so to speak. I have just downloaded the Building Design Suite Premium 2019 version. I am considering not to renew. I could probably get the education versions because I teach, but I really do not want to teach forever. Since my license is a perpetual maintenance plan I am assuming I will be able to use this product as it stand for as long as I want. Will I have to remove the previous 2017 and 2018 versions? In the event of a computer crash a few years down the road, if I reinstall the 2019 version (I have the full six installation files for the suite copied and in a safe place) would there be the problem if I ask for an activation code. Would Autodesk be obligated to give me a new activation code. I would occasionally reformat my computer every three of four years and reinstall everything which was time consuming but computers tend to slow down over time because of a multitude of reasons. The autorization codes that I copied from the previous install never worked. I would just reactivate via the internet. I have seen this money grab coming for a long time and now it is here. Shame on them for disregarding the loyalty of many professionals. I would appreciate any of your thoughtful insight into a possible future problem on activation. Thanks much. Frank

      1. Kathy Miller

        Steve, The point of purchasing a perpetual license was to self promote products by Autodesk. They succeeded and are now so large and have such big attorneys they are shutting out any perpetual license activation due to necessary hardware upgrades and promoting the only option of subscription trying to make people believe that the majority of people have enjoyed their “upgrades” and feel like they have received value for their annual fee. Your blog shows otherwise.

  23. Frank Zmuda

    I am just a one person operation now. I only kept one seat for myself. Would they go to the effort of following up with whatever legal methods to come to my location and search my computers for previous versions? How would they know? I suppose anything is possible with the new leaders at the helm. The previous versions probably are not necessary to keep. Thank you for your comments. I will follow up with Autodesk. Frank

    1. Steve Johnson

      One of the nastier aspects of the Autodesk EULA is that they grant themselves the right to audit your licenses, and have come onto people’s premises in the past. How would they know? Autodesk software phones home in all sorts of undocumented ways. Would they go to the effort? Sorry, I could only take a guess.

      1. Kathy Miller

        Fear mongering is what many large companies like insurers do these days. Most Licensed professionals i have known that make their living upholding life, health and safety criteria are not going to ruin their reputation with a software copyright issue. There are many licensed professionals who have dedicated themselves to providing a service to their community and nation. Very important for perpetual users to begin organizing our terms and conditions paperwork for perpetual license holders.

  24. Anna

    Does anyone have a list of perpetual license prices from 2015-16? I’m trying to work out the uplift to subscription and it would be great to have the numbers for AutoCAD, Revit, Inventor, Civil and InfraWorks (if not more)

  25. I have been using Autocad since the early 80s. We have periodically upgraded when we found new features that increased our productivity. When we upgraded from 2006 to 2015 we found that some of the lisp files we had written in house would no longer work but stayed with 2015 and 2016 which came with our maintenance program because we always had to request that our clients save to an earlier version than they were using, so we could open up their files. Other than that, there is no real need to constantly upgrade for minor improvements.

    If they really want to increase sales they need to come up with some new features that really improve the products performance instead of wanting people to constantly upgrade for minor tweaks.

  26. I’m retiring soon and I plan to sell my Perpetual License of 3D Studio MAX, currently just renewed to October 2020. If anyone is interested let me know. The transfer would just require a call to Autodesk. The latest renew cost me 720.00 and I imagine will continue going up, the advantage of course is that you can always use the last version if you decide to stop renewal and jump on the subscription if and when needed. I get all the functionality I need from the 2016 and 2017 versions and have only continued renewal to make it’s eventual sale more lucrative.

  27. Eric Smith

    I am a hobbiest who bought a perpetual license to 3ds Max in 2007. I have not updated since then but recently found that I tried to use 3ds Max 2007 on a windows 10 machine. It worked sort of. Crashed a lot with graphic problems.
    Only found out today that there is no such thing as a perpetual license anymore. Not worth paying the price for a hobby use of 3ds max.

  28. Lee Sindall

    This is simply not true. Nobody is getting screwed over.
    Autodesk are just moving forward with the times, the same way tapes went to CDs, and then to iTunes, the way retail stores went to Amazon and soon how robotics will take over a lot of manual jobs.
    Cloud and digital technology is moving so quickly and Autodesk are moving in alignment with that.
    I bought 3Ds max once upon a time at a cost of close to £2,000. This included no updates to latest versions unless I paid maintenance and was a standalone product. Autodesk now offer you a subscription with around £20,000 + worth of products for £2000 a year with latest versions for best practice. Anyone with old perpetuals benefits from this at an even lower cost. In comparison to our competitors we still beat prices against there perpetuals and have seen an increase in subscriptions by 18% this year alone in our business.

    1. Kathy Miller

      Contract license agreements were not put into place to be invalidated because of any future changes in business models for one side of the agreement to generate continued revenue. You mention competitors because Autodesk has cornered this market and is banking that putting everyone currently owning perpetual licenses on a subscription would easily pay for any lawsuits from perpetual license holders. Especially since perpetual users will lose their rights as soon as current hardware needs replacing.

  29. For future design work I’m switching my company to SolidWorks until SolidWorks goes rental too. I want to use my AutoCAD perpetual License to access my legacy files. Unfortunately, it crashes with “A software problem caused AutoCAD Mechanical to close unexpectedly”. Reloading it doesn’t fix the problem at all. This is because software in todays windows environment is unsustainable without Autodesk chasing the compatibility with windows incessantly . This pretty much makes my perpetual license a throw away.

    Does anyone know of a company stepping in to support the perpetual licenses?

    1. Karl

      I believe “Iron Cad” does perpetual liscences. But I have done very little research at this stage.
      I have abandoned my perpetual Autotheft liscence as well, and I’m just going to do exactly what Autodesk wanted to prevent. I’m just going to carry on using it without paying anything now, until (like you) I can’t make it work anymore, then I’ll go elsewhere.

      Best of luck

  30. Brian Duncan

    Hello, I’ve been using Autocad for around 28 years. In the beginning it was a bit of a dog so by around the time of release 14, I (and others), had modified the software using LSP. I still use release 2006 with LSP mods and its all I need to this day other than to use Draftsight for conversion of later releases. Today (12th Sep 2019) is the final day when Autocad will allow the software to activate via the internet. With this contact with the Autodesk web site the software simply wont run, it’s the only option.
    I believe Autodesk to be in breach of their 2006 license agreement and have been considering taking a class action court case against them.
    Personally I’d be prepared to pay Autodesk a small annual fee of around NZD120 for continued access but this appears to be not the way forward for them. Autodesk have made a conscious effort to deactivate software in order to gouge exorbitant fees from legacy users.
    Has anybody out there considered a class action law suit (worldwide)? I’d be prepared to instigate one.

    1. Prem Shenoy

      Hi Brian,

      Yes. We are Holding 20 Licences of AutoCAD 2006 LT and AutoCAD 2008 LT.
      Today when contacted for Activation Code, They say that it is no more supported. I have the EULA of 2006 and 2008. The EULA binds Autodesk give the activation Codes.

      Ready to support the Movement against them in INDIA.
      Prem Shenoy.

      1. Kathy Miller

        Would you please share your EULA. People need hope that we can organize and get our access per our original agreements. There is a good deal of mis information regarding these perpetual license agreements being spread by those that have no familiarity with the original agreements we purchased to propel Autodesk to the giant it is today.

      1. Brian Duncan

        Nice to see a rational mind on the job. Yes that’s all I’m asking, just for the continued use of the original software as agreed by Autodesk at point of purchase. They have control over my personal use of the software via internet activation each time the software is loaded. What they could and should be doing is issuing a patch that makes this internet activation redundant thereby allowing users the freedom to use the originally purchased software in perpetuity as agreed. No support required or asked for, just the continued use of the software.
        Not sure how we can share documents etc., any suggestions.

        1. I was pointed toward an X Force key generator by a discarded Autodesk higer-up. It develops the authorization code whenever it’s needed. Like those times Autodesk is broken, or their web connection fails, or the cloud craps out again. What was a convenience became a necessity. Especially after the unilateral redefinition of ‘perpetual’.

  31. Brian Duncan

    Autodesk’s Autocad 2006 Licence excerpt.
    2.2.6 License Term. Subject to the terms and conditions of this Agreement, the license to use the Software is perpetual, unless the Software qualifies as an Evaluation Version, Student Version, or is designated as a fixed-term license, a limited duration license or a rental license. In such case, the term of the license shall be the term identified by Autodesk in the applicable User Documentation (the “Designated Term”) or the term for which You have paid, whichever is less. If Autodesk identifies the Software as licensed for a fixed term, limited duration or rental and does not specify a term, then the Designated Term shall expire ninety (90) days after the date You first Install the Software. Use of this Software beyond the applicable license term, or any attempt to defeat the time-control disabling function in the Software is an unauthorized use and constitutes a material violation of this Agreement and intellectual property law.

  32. Robert Janky

    Is ArtCad compatible with AutoCad.
    Can past files be opened and worked on in Artcad.
    As I am currently looking at upgrading.
    I have AutoCad 2014 perpetual licence but cannot substantiate paying the extreme costs for latest versions as I am not a company with projects to afford or cover the costs of AutoCad.

  33. Nathan Sutherladn

    We have one seat of the “Building Design Suite Premium” package, and have been on the maintenance plan for quite a few years @ $1,400 pear . Recently we received our final warning that the maintenance plan was being phased out and only subscriptions would be valid from here on forward.

    As of today (December 28th 2020), the prices are as follows:
    – Retail subscription for AEC: $2,965 / year
    – Sub with discount and “trade-in”: $1,170 / year (for at least 3 years)

    So if we did the trade-in, for the first three years we’d be saving ~$300 per year and LOSING the ability to open our own work should we ever stop paying their fee. Then after three years, we would be paying ~$1,500 MORE per year for the same great feature. I can only imagine the $$$ with a larger numbers of seats. Sure, they might provide a longer and larger discount, but given their track record, I’m not holding my breath!

    Here’s to hoping that other CAD software manufactures see the huge backlash from this and always provide the option for perpetual licenses!

  34. If anyone is organizing a way that we perpetual license holders can use our software ahhh….perpetually as promised and contracted by Autodesk, count me in to help. It appears that Autodesk has enough lawyers guns and money to simply say, “come and get us.” I think that’s the problem. I had some long conversations with the tech help people and when I asked them to simply think for a moment, not as an employee but, as an objective evaluator. I asked them if they could explain to me how it’s ethical, moral or legal for a seller of a perpetual license to actually end it after charging, for some, a ferocious amount of money. They all eventually admitted that it didn’t make sense. It’s hard to find another definition of the word “perpetual”. As Norman Geisler once said, “reason works on reasonable people.” It’s pathetic that ethics have no place in business anymore but it appears to be true. I don’t know what good it will do to jump on this ship but we have to do more than rant. We need some organization and a good attorney. You’d think this would be a slam dunk case but the law doesn’t see things as right and wrong but as legal and illegal. I think that’s what Autodesk has banked on. (Terrible pun)

    1. Mike Dammar

      I bailed on auto desk after about 6 years but have a perpetual license.
      I paid the maintenance every year, but actually only updated the software every 2 years because it was always such a pain because they “changed” all the file file formats each year to make them incompatible.
      I hadn’t seen anything in the updates anyway that was not just cloud related so no great loss.

      I used the money I saved to buy Solidworks and made a point of telling them that the ONLY reason I bought their software was because of what Autodesk was doing to their loyal customers. Aside from the increase in price, and the total waste of the money I had put in the perpetual license ( where they forced me to buy a bunch of software I did not need in order to get the one I wanted, then kept stripping those extra products from the suite , while increasing the maintenance cost) the thing people seem to always forget is the internet dependency of the subscription.

      If their server goes down ( and it has several times in the last few years) you may not be able to run your software. In my case, since I run a machine shop, I would also not be able to program my machines which would leave some very expensive machinery just sitting there waiting for Autocad.

      I had been talking to the VENDOR who I had originally bought the software from one day, and THEY could not get there software running for the better part of day because they had to be on the rental model.

      Imagine if come clever hacker got into the Autodesk servers and locked them down. All the renters could conceivably be be seriously inconvenienced. I’ am not sure though how often the rental software phones home but it just has to happen on the day that you really need it.

      So the rental model makes a huge swath of industry UNNECESSARILY vulnerable
      in fact I would be surprised if companies with critical government contracts would even be allowed to submit themselves to these vulnerabilities.

      There have been at least three times were we hove lost internet for a couple of days here, imagine not being able to run your whole shop just because someone at Autodesk thought that “the cloud is the future”

      I also routinely load up files with a different 15 year old CAD CAM package when long term customers order those parts. Imagine using the rental software for a couple of years, dong a lot of designs, then changing to something else but then 10 years down the road you need to look at some legacy project.

      I have been screaming at my vendor every since they announced this plan but they could not care less. I would also really like to know if anyone is taking legal action , because I know that some day I will have to install my PERPETUALLY licensed software on a new machine, and I have all ready gotten the the cold shoulder from AD when I wanted to activate the latest version ( that I had received while still under maintenance, and they tried to tell me that I could not use it because I was no longer under maintenance any more.

  35. Travis Maxwell

    Dump it and go with Intellicad or similar. If you need Civil Design software, Carlson comes with Intellicad. Civil3d is probably a better program and seems less susceptible to Windows updates, but Carlson is easier to use. It will never be 100% compatible(if you use a lot of custom lisps, many will not be compatible), but I ran an office with 10 employees and we switched a few years ago and never looked back. Initially, we had a serious performance issue with intellicad, but this was corrected. If you have a persistent issue, Carlson’s is now a member of the intellicad organization and they have the best tech support in the business. I had direct contact with the Carlson’s programmers who had direct connection with Intellicad. Nanocad is another good alternative. It runs better than Intellicad, but is bare bones.

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