This story goes back over 50 years. A British company called Delcam was founded in 1965 and developed many products. These included ArtCAM, an application for producing 3D parts using 2D artwork as a base. It won a Queen’s Award for Innovation in 2003. In 2014, Autodesk acquired Delcam for approximately USD$286 Million and ArtCAM (among others) became an Autodesk product.
As with all Autodesk products, sales of perpetual licenses ceased a couple of years ago. Owners of perpetual licenses were encouraged to ditch them and switch to subscription instead. Financially encouraged, with “discounts” and promises of price rises for uncooperative customers. You’ll be familiar with this part of the story.
Now, Autodesk has killed ArtCAM. The FAQ is here, but as of right now you can’t buy a new ArtCAM subscription. You can renew an existing subscription until 7 July 2018. Support ends on 1 November 2018. Support will be of limited value because bugs are highly unlikely to be fixed, especially if what I hear about the development team being fired last November is true.
Are you an ArtCAM customer wondering what this means for the future? Here’s what happens if you followed Autodesk’s advice and switched to subscription:
- You stop using the software as soon as your subscription runs out. Immediately. No negotiation will be entered into.
Here’s what happens if you didn’t follow Autodesk’s advice and kept your perpetual license:
- You get use the software for as long as it still works.
Which of these scenarios would you say is preferable from a customer point of view? Yes, it’s a rhetorical question similar to, “Would you prefer to: a) cut your own head off with a blunt rusty saw; or b) not do that?”
Remember when I said subscription was a trap and you shouldn’t fall for it? Was I wrong?
OK, hands up all those customers who still think Autodesk subscription is a good idea. Anyone?
I’ve added ArtCAM to the Autodesk Graveyard. Anybody who thinks this can’t happen to their product should read that page and ponder how many Autodesk customers thought their product would permanently persist.