New Autodesk subscription offer to perpetual license holders

New Autodesk subscription offer to perpetual license holders

Don’t get too excited. Autodesk’s recent attempt to price-force perpetual license maintenance customers onto subscription (rental) remains in place, unchanged and just as unappealing as before. If you’re one of those customers, there’s nothing new here of interest to you.

This new offer, at 30% off the normal but extremely high subscription price, is at first sight even less appealing than the approximately 60% saving that the above offer provides. But it’s aimed at different customers, and there’s the remote possibility that such customers might find it worthwhile.

The new offer is called FY18 Q1 Autodesk – Global Field Promotion and is aimed at bringing into the rental fold those customers who hold old perpetual licenses that are not on maintenance. If you have an old AutoCAD Release 14 lying around that has never been upgraded, or an AutoCAD 2007 license where you allowed the maintenance (then called Subscription) to lapse, you can trade it in for the 30% discount on a wide range of subscription products. You need to surrender the perpetual license, and you need to pay up front for three years of subscription. Read the FAQ for details.

Three years of subscription at only 30% off is actually really expensive. Depending on what product you go for, it could work out about the same as a perpetual license cost back when Autodesk used to sell software. Despite that substantial investment, you’ll be left with nothing whatsoever at the end of the three years. You will then be expected to wear a huge increase in rental costs when the 30% discount wears off. It works out to a price jump of about 43%, plus whatever price rises there may have been in the meantime.

Excited by this offer? No? Gee, you people are hard to please!

Don’t dismiss it out of hand, though. If you meet all of the following conditions, you should still consider this offer:

  • You have an old non-upgraded eligible license lying around.
  • You’re never going to want to use that license ever again.
  • You have an absolute need to rent one of the Autodesk products on offer, and would otherwise be paying 100% rather than 70% of the huge subscription fees.
  • You can afford to pay those high fees in advance for three years.
  • You’re definitely going to need that rented software for more than two years (otherwise it works out cheaper to rent at 100% for 2/3 of the time).
  • You can budget for a huge price increase at the end of the three year period, assuming you’re going to use the software long-term.
  • You don’t think Autodesk is going to come up with a more attractive offer later.

Maybe the Autodesk execs think this is going to be perceived as an attractive offer, but if they do there’s a fair bit of self-delusion going on. I fully expect this campaign to fail to live up to Autodesk’s expectations, and much better offers to follow later, in order to try to tempt the remaining hold-outs. No guarantees, obviously; it’s your money and your gamble.

Having had a good look at what Autodesk execs have been telling the stock market, I’ve been expecting this move. Old perpetual license holders have been identified as a target market. However, I was expecting the move to come later than this, and I was expecting the terms of the offer to be much more attractive. Are perpetual license converts thinner on the ground than Autodesk expected? Is Autodesk getting desperate for cash to make this quarter’s numbers look better than they otherwise would? Wouldn’t surprise me.


  1. The thing I hate about these deals is all the resellers come out of the woodwork and tell you there is yet another exciting deal available. Of course they don’t always come to me, they email the company owners as if I am rejecting some great deal.
    Those resellers will NEVER get a drop of our money, though I might still find out their good technical people and milk them for free help 🙂 Usually ends up me helping them, but that is ok.

    1. That’s a key problem with software in our businesses, the people opening wallets are not the users ! We’re a very small office, and the boss (which understands nothing about software) usually listens to me, but, last year, I haven’t had the time to tell him to stop acad maintenance renewals, and he reacted positively to some “renew maintenance before it’s too late” without asking me. This year, I told him (twice !) to NEVER accept any subscription deal (and why), and to stop renewing our 7 acad maintenance seats.

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