Bullshit Returns – Autodesk maintenance price hike part 2

In this post I continue skewering the welcome post to Autodesk’s Moving to Subscription forum. See here for part 1.

Access to new industry collections – Available only through subscription, you’ll realize significant savings when you need two or more Autodesk software products.

Bullshit. Industry collections are just rental-only engorged suites. Suites are those things with many more than two products; things that Autodesk has been pushing hard for years, before dropping them from the price list. If you already have a suite that contains the products you need (remember, Autodesk’s statements are aimed at existing perpetual license holders), switching to an industry collection will cost you vastly more. That’s the opposite of significant savings.

New and improved support – Enjoy faster response times and the option to receive help by scheduling a call with Autodesk technical support specialists.

It’s just possible this isn’t bullshit. Autodesk support can certainly be sub-optimal and it’s just possible that some of the massive slab of funds Autodesk expects to collect will be diverted to improving support for those who pay the most. Maybe. But I bet Autodesk’s very best high-cost efforts still look very weak compared with the free support provided by Bricsys.

Simplified administration – Access tools that streamline deployment and software management when you standardize all of your Autodesk products on subscription.

Bullshit. The user-based internet-reliant subscription licensing method is a CAD Manager’s nightmare. The device-based standalone licensing system for perpetual license products, while not perfect, is vastly superior from an administration viewpoint. And don’t get me started on the CF that is Autodesk desktop app.

Because managing two business models (subscription and maintenance plans) is costly, in order to continue supporting maintenance plans, beginning May 7, 2017, maintenance plan renewal prices will increase by 5% in 2017, 10% in 2018, and 20% in 2019.

Bullshit. The price is increasing to push customers into expensive rental arrangements and remove the Autodesk payment escape route provided by perpetual licenses, not to recoup costs. Even if there were substantial costs involved in managing an additional business model (rental), there is more than enough margin in the massive rental costs to cover that. And Autodesk, if the costs are substantial, then you’re doing it wrong. If your management is not competent enough to arrange its affairs efficiently and cost-effectively then I have no sympathy. Don’t come to me with your hand out, crying poor.

But I don’t believe for a second that any such costs really are significant enough to justify those increases. I have searched in vain in Autodesk’s financial reports for such a cost blowout. Maybe I’m missing something, but it would appear that Autodesk’s cost of non-subscription revenue actually fell 9% from 208.5m in FY2015 to 190.6m in FY2017.

Can we long-term customers have some of that saving, please? If not, how about a small slice of the billion dollars a year that Autodesk spends on marketing and sales? Cut the generation of bullshit by a fraction, reward your most loyal customers instead of screwing them over, and everybody will be happy.

Having disposed of the bovine ordure associated with Autodesk’s price hikes, we can next move on to the substance of them. How do the costs work out? Are you better off switching to rental, staying on maintenance or switching to a competing product from a less greedy, more trustworthy company? Look forward to an objective analysis. With no bullshit.

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