Autodesk contemplates Bentley-style licensing

Some of you may have received an invitation from Autodesk to provide survey feedback. This hints at a possible move towards time based licensing (e.g. hourly), and asks what kind of tools you will need to handle that. Sometimes these questions lead to nothing, other times they are a precursor to inevitable change (desirable or not). If it’s the latter, I can only surmise that Autodesk is concerned that its customers haven’t been thoroughly peed off by anything new in a while and is investigating novel and interesting ways to annoy them.

Ask a Bentley customer what annoys them most about dealing with the company and odds are you’ll be told that it’s the time-based licensing system introduced to SELECT customers a few years ago. Tales abound of rip-off calculations, huge unexpected end-of-period bills, companies being billed for impossible numbers of hours, and so on. Some customers even went as far as calling the system a scam or a fraud.

Some of the worst excesses of SELECT are apparently now fixed, but this system is still unpopular with many customers. So I guess it’s only natural for Autodesk to examine moving in that direction.


  1. Sounds like they’re contemplating rolling out their “Token Flex” model to the masses as opposed to Enterprise customers.

    For Enterprise customers, you had to tell them what your “token” consumption would be for the length of the 3 year contract. Each product has a different token rate. It’s like a hotel movie, you pay for access per day. 2 minutes or 23.5 hours….same cost.

    To be nice, they helped customers “Estimate” the usage. Their estimate wasn’t based in reality (They just added 5 seats to everything. 150 licenses? Add 5. 1 license? Add 5) I spent over 100 hours analyzing usage patterns and got within %0.1 after 2 years factoring in product migration (Acad->Revit) and growth.

    If you estimate too much, it’s a “use it or loose it”. Estimate too little, you pay a premium for overages.

    Aside from that, it was nice to get rid of the “Suites” and actually see and monitor usage of the actual products…knowing what was and was not being used was helpful by not have the data “buried” in a “suite” license,

    This essentially used “FlexLM” and uploaded utilization reports throughout the day.

    For full time users, this is a wash. But Autodesk’s goal is to put software in the hands of people who wouldn’t typically buy a license and start getting revenue from them. The company I was with at the time had 1/3 of it’s user base as “occasional” with shared network licensing. With metered licensing, they drive more revenue from this user base.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *