ADSK bubble trouble

Autodesk has now recorded ten successive quarters of losses totaling $1.289 billion. Autodesk’s share price had been rapidly rising during the previous nine lossy quarters. If last quarter’s $119.8 million loss was business as usual, why did the ADSK share price plummet? At the time of writing, it’s $23.65 down on its pre-Q3-results high. Alongside the usual we’re-doing-great stuff in the Q3 announcement, Autodesk announced big layoffs, with another 13% of the workforce to go. Merry Christmas, employees. This follows on from another 10% who were axed last year. Don’t think I’m gloating about this. I’m not; these are real …

Autodesk founder outraged by Amazon snatch of cloudy purchases

Autodesk co-founder John Walker (it’s not his fault, he relinquished control of the company many years ago) recently posted this on Twitter: In a move reminiscent of the infamous removal of Orwell’s 1984 from Kindle devices (which Amazon promised a court it would never repeat), John’s Audible.com (owned by Amazon) audio books, purchased in 2009-2010, simply went away. John’s reaction was to post a video of harmless inanimate objects being blown away by a powerful firearm, so I think it’s safe to say he was not overly pleased about this turn of events. Can’t say I blame him. This is …

AutoCAD 2018 for Mac – welcome to twenty years ago

In the past, I’ve described how AutoCAD for Mac was released half-baked (as I predicted) and has remained half-baked ever since. But wait! Autodesk has proudly announced AutoCAD 2018 for Mac. Skimming through that blog post, I must admit my jaw dropped when I saw some of the new features. This one, for example: This “new feature” was first provided to AutoCAD users in the 20th century. It was an Express Tool in AutoCAD 2000 (released 1999) and was absorbed into mainstream AutoCAD a few years later. The alias editor goes back even further, to the Release 14 Bonus Tools …

Cloudy and/or subscription CAD still adds vulnerabilities

Remember when I skewered the myth of CAD on the Cloud being available anytime, anywhere? Back then, I pointed out that Autodesk’s infinitely powerful cloud services had managed a grand total of 2 problem-free fortnights out of the preceding 25. But maybe Autodesk just had a bad year or something. How are things in 2017? Thanks to Autodesk’s health check site with its History option, I can see that so far this year, the grand total of 14-day pages that show no problems is… Zero. That’s right, there have been no clean 100%-uptime fortnights at all this year. None. Most …

The cull continues – yet more Autodesk products are bumped off

While you’re enjoying yourselves at Autodesk University (not that there’s anything wrong with that), spare a thought for a few products that didn’t make it through the year. Their unfortunate ends are unlikely to be announced at AU with flashy videos and gung-ho words, but should still not go unnoticed. More than just a few products, actually. Autodesk killing off its wares is not new, but 2017 is surely the year where the scythe has been wielded with most gusto. I’ve updated the Autodesk Graveyard again to include a few more ex-products. Thanks to JM and others who have pointed …

BricsCAD V18 – showing Autodesk how to do DWG CAD

For years now, Autodesk has done very little worthwhile with AutoCAD. There have been a few small but welcome improvements, but it’s really just tinkering at the edges. The product as a whole continues to stagnate and yet blimp out. It’s getting bigger and slower with each new release. The downloads get bigger. The install times get longer. The startup times drag out. The responsiveness suffers. And for what? Pretty much the same old thing, every time. Sometimes you don’t even get a new desktop icon. Don’t get me started on value for money. It’s as if Autodesk considers DWG-based …

Too soon? Autodesk cancels 30% subscription price increase

Autodesk had announced plans to increase some subscription prices by 30% on 7 November 2017. Resellers have already passed that information on to customers. Here’s the detail of what was going to happen: Three Important Changes to Subscriptions with Multi-User Access Autodesk is increasing prices on subscriptions with multi-user access to reflect the value and flexibility that sharing licenses provides our customers. As part of this change, we will stop selling new subscriptions with multi-user access for select products. Beginning November 7, 2017: Prices for new and renewing subscriptions with multi-user access for most individual products are increasing by ~17-19%. …

Autodesk resellers also appear dissatisfied with Autodesk

I have closed the three satisfaction rating polls I started a couple of months ago and have reported the results individually. This is the final post on this set of polls. The usual caveats about online polls apply. Please note that for most of the poll respondents, I have no way of knowing if they really are/were resellers. Whoever they are, it would appear that the sentiment is global; over ten countries are represented in the voting logs. Although this poll appears to indicate that Autodesk is even less popular with its resellers than it is with its customers, the …

Autodesk customers distinctly dissatisfied with Autodesk

I have closed the three satisfaction rating polls I started a couple of months ago and will be reporting the results individually. The usual caveats about online polls apply.

This poll indicates that Autodesk customer satisfaction levels are perhaps not quite as elevated as they could be. The mean rating is 2.75, the median is 2 and the mode is 0. Yes, zero. Very dissatisfied customers outnumber very satisfied ones by nearly ten to one. That’s pretty emphatic.

If Autodesk had left its policies alone and tried to run a huge PR campaign to deliberately make itself as unpopular with its customers as possible, I doubt that it could have achieved anything like this poor a result. Congratulations, I guess.

Although this is an appalling result for Autodesk, it should come as no surprise to anyone. This reflects the sentiment I see pretty much everywhere, in a wide variety of online forums and when talking to all sorts of people in person.

Lesson for the day: there’s no point in spending a billion dollars a year on marketing if you’re going to do things that make you about as popular as a fart in an elevator.

Autodesk customers fairly satisfied with resellers

I have closed the three satisfaction rating polls I started a couple of months ago and will be reporting the results individually.

Let’s start on a positive note. The poll indicates that in general, you’re reasonably happy with your Autodesk resellers. The mean rating is 6.04, the median is 7 and the mode is 8. Given the unpopular message they’ve had to pass on lately, I think this is a pretty positive result.

Feel free to comment here if you wish to discuss any aspect of this. Are you happy with your reseller?

Repost: Autodesk Subscription – it could be worse

This is a repost of Autodesk Subscription – it could be worse from 18 April 2010. I’m posting this to show that I’m not just having a go at Autodesk’s policies because they’re from Autodesk. I’m having a go at those policies because they are reprehensible. Whoever it is that’s being anti-customer, spinning bullshit, or otherwise misbehaving, they can expect to receive a brutally honest critique here. It’s interesting that in this old post I pointed out that this policy was bad business. (Not quite the expression I used, but the sentiment was there). My agreement with Buzz Kross on …

Battle of the Bullshit part 5 – Bentley back in the bad books

Having earlier earned my praise for raising its game in its PR battle with Autodesk, Bentley has unfortunately reverted to BS mode with its latest effort. In its message “Upgrade your Autodesk Licenses – Top 5 Reasons Why You Have a Choice“, Bentley’s marketers have chosen to step beyond the facts. Bad idea. Most of that page is just straightforward promotion of Bentley’s self-perceived strong points. No problem with that. But the first full paragraph? Hmm. Here’s the first example: Preserve the value of your Autodesk licenses that otherwise would be lost as a result of Autodesk’s decision to no …

First 2018.1-broke-my-AutoCAD reports coming in

Thanks to R.K. McSwain for pointing out that at least one user has reported unexpected shutdowns from AutoCAD (Architecture, probably) following installation of the 2018.1 Update. The problem went away following uninstallation of the update. Caveat updator. Anybody else have any issues or are you all waiting for the early adopters to find out for you? Edit: it turns out the crash occurs when opening 2013 DXF files. Edit 2: a hotfix has been posted here.

AutoCAD 2018.1 released, but only for some

Autodesk has released the AutoCAD (and LT) 2018.1 Update, not to be confused with the earlier ill-fated 2018.0.1 Update. It’s only available for currently-paying subscription and maintenance customers. The “non critical” bug fixes in this Update (by Autodesk’s definition) are being withheld from Autodesk’s other customers. Those of you who have allowed your maintenance to expire due to Autodesk’s development inaction and unjustified price increases can consider yourselves duly punished for failing to fall into line. If you have the execrable Autodesk desktop app installed (not recommended) and it works as expected, this update will present itself to you. Otherwise, …

Autodesk Senior Vice President tells it like it is

I didn’t expect to see any comment about the policy of denying bug fixes to some customers from any Autodesk high-ups, but I was mistaken.

Here’s a quote on just this subject from Autodesk Senior Vice President1, Buzz Kross:

It’s just bad business. Why would you not want to take care of your customers? I would never do that. Come on, we all make mistakes. All software has bugs and as a developer, I have an obligation to provide fixes to all my paying customers, whether they are on subscription or not. Customers on subscription have the advantage of getting access to new stuff. That’s fine. But denying them access to bug fixes is just not right.

Buzz Kross, Senior Vice President, Autodesk1
9 April 2010


Photo: Autodesk

It’s not often I so completely agree with an Autodesk executive1, but I can find no fault in his logic. Thank you, Buzz.


1. Although Buzz is still listed as a SVP in some Autodesk online materials, he’s no longer with the company.

Autodesk confirms its own unconscionable conduct

It took several attempts over a period of months and was like pulling teeth, but Autodesk has now confirmed that it is deliberately withholding bug fixes from some of its customers. Autodesk has taken customers’ money and in return has provided defective software (OK, that happens). It has fixed some of those defects (that happens too, sometimes). But it’s limiting distribution of those fixes to those prepared to pay Autodesk further (that has never happened before). Just let that sink in. Autodesk broke stuff you paid for, could easily fix it, but won’t do so unless you pay more. If …

Yet more Autodesk software falls off the perch

Just when I thought I was having a nice vacation from tending the Autodesk Graveyard (see also Autodesk products are falling like parrots), another bunch of former best-thing-ever products have bitten the dust. This time, it’s Autodesk’s Gameware middleware products that have been read the Last Rites. Scaleform, Beast, HumanIK and Navigation can no longer be purchased or maintained. If you used these products, support will cease as soon as your existing maintenance agreement expires. More details on cgchannel.com. That leaves Stingray as the only surviving middleware product (for now). That’s probably only still alive because Autodesk wants the halo …

Automated .NET 4.7 update kills AutoCAD pre 2017

Thanks to Robert Green for pointing this out: Microsoft is installing .NET 4.7 as part of their auto updates and it is causing many legacy Autodesk applications to crash on any ribbon interaction. Touch the ribbon, away goes your software. If you can keep from installing the 4.7 framework do so. If the damage is already done then uninstall .NET 4.7 and install .NET 4.6.2 using this download link. Note that the uninstall of the offending version must be done first! AutoCAD 2013 to 2016 and Inventor are affected, and possibly other products. BricsCAD users are unaffected. It is also …

Autodesk now has only one CEO

The speculation is over. Autodesk no longer has Schrödinger’s CEO. Elon Musk has missed out, the winner is… Andrew “Baked Beans” Anagnost!   Here’s the press release and here’s a letter from Andrew. The other obvious internal candidate, Amar Hanspal, has decided to leave the company. Resigned on the spot, so I’m told. As the financial rewards for winning the CEO race are akin to winning the lottery, coming second must have been a major disappointment to product guy Amar, who I first met when he was helping to drive the hugely successful Release 14 program. Best wishes to Amar …

Further Autodesk subscription inflexibility

Autodesk’s claim that its all-rental business model adds flexibility for customers has always been bullshit. That’s a self-evident truth. Nobody believes that removing customers’ purchasing options amounts to anything but inflexibility. Particularly when the purchasing option removed is that preferred by the vast majority of customers. But wait! There’s more! I recently discovered that it’s even more inflexible than I originally thought! If you sign up for single-user (standalone) subscription licenses you’re stuck with them for the duration of your agreement. You can’t upgrade them to multi-user (network) licenses. Doesn’t matter how much cash you wave in Autodesk’s face, or …