Another one bites the dust – Autodesk sheds Seek

Another one bites the dust – Autodesk sheds Seek

Following on from Autodesk’s announcement of the impending demise of 123D, the shedding of Cloudy applications and services continues. This time, it’s BIM content service Autodesk Seek. Here’s what Autodesk has to say about the reason for this change:

Autodesk… does not consider the Autodesk Seek service to be strategic to our core business at this time.

The timeline went something like this:

  • 16 January 2017 – Autodesk transferred the operations and customer support obligations related to the Autodesk Seek business to Swedish digital content company BIMobject.
  • 18 January 2017 – Autodesk posts a notice to that effect on its Knowledge Network.
  • 18 January 2017 – BIMobject posts a notice to that effect on its own site.
  • ~23 January 2017 – Autodesk customers attempting to use Autodesk Seek find out about the change when they are automatically redirected to the BIMobject site.
  • ~23 January 2017 – A well-known Autodesk personality also finds out about the change, unfortunately while presenting Autodesk Seek to a crowd. I’m sure the consummate professional in question would have handled this situation well, but it’s an uncomfortable position to be placed in.

It may well be that former Autodesk Seek users are not unduly inconvenienced by this change. This transition may be less stressful for customers than, say, Autodesk deciding to get out of the Facilities Management software business. Time will tell.

Autodesk can and will dump products and parts of its business as and when it sees fit, as it always has. Look back over Autodesk’s history and you’ll observe a long trail of corpses and weeping orphans. The difference with Cloud software and services is that very negative changes can take immediate effect. The vendor has total control; the customer has none.

Even if your Cloudy product is Autodesk’s Next Big Thing, that’s no protection. If Autodesk loses interest, the rug can be pulled at any instant, with unknown consequences. If you’re not uncomfortable with that, you should be.

When Autodesk dumped FMDesktop, customers could at least continue to use the software they had for as long as they liked. From the customer’s viewpoint, that’s the huge advantage of the desktop software perpetual license model; an advantage I can’t see customers giving up willingly.

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