What’s new in AutoCAD 2019 for maintenance customers?

So you’re a long-term customer who has used AutoCAD since it ran on an abacus. You paid for upgrades when you could and switched to maintenance (then called Subscription) when that became the only cost-effective option for keeping current. You’re not about to fall for the subscription (rental) trick; they can prise your perpetual license from your cold, dead fingers. It’s no secret that the value for your maintenance dollar has been poor for years. Autodesk is jacking up maintenance prices in leaps and bounds; is the maintenance being performed at a rate that matches the amount being charged? In …

Having trouble authorising Autodesk products?

You’re not alone. At the time of writing, the Autodesk license service at auth.autodesk.com is down, so if you need a response from that service before your software will work you’re likely to be severely out of luck. That’s more likely to be inconvenient if you’re on subscription rather than a perpetual license, because Autodesk subscription software phones home every month. Yes, even if you have a 3-year license.

Is anyone going to Autodesk University this year?

No, I don’t mean, “Hey, I’m going to Autodesk University this year, let’s hang out!” I mean, is anyone going to Autodesk University this year? Edit: in this post I am referring to AU2018 in Las Vegas, not any other event. Because I’m seeing lots of people saying they’re not going. People who haven’t missed it for many years. When Robert Green announced his forthcoming non-attendance on Facebook, I was amazed to see so many prominent long-term Autodesk loyalists do likewise. Here are a few comments: OUCH! With all the people I know who won’t be there, AU is going …

Autodesk removes ability to control products and updates by device

If you’re a CAD Manager controlling Autodesk software through Autodesk Account, make sure you don’t ignore this little notice near the top: Full details can be found on the page Device Management Discontinued in Autodesk Account, but in short another level of control and flexibility will be removed from you in a month or so. I hope you’re sincerely grateful for Autodesk improving and simplifying the user management experience. This only applies if you allow Autodesk desktop app to be installed, which I’ve always advised against. Of course, if you’re in a secure proxy environment there’s a good chance that …

The great Autodesk Collections rip-off has ended

I reported in January that, “The way Autodesk Collection licensing works, you can’t use more than two of the products in a Collection at once.” Thanks to a policy reversal from Autodesk, this is no longer true. Felice on the Autodesk forums shared the good news: Hi all, I have an update to share on this topic… we are removing the Industry Collection concurrent usage policy limitation. Here are some more details/background: Overview: Currently, the Industry Collection concurrent usage policy limits the number of collection products that can be used at the same time to two. The terms and conditions related …

Heidi Hewett – Autodesk loses, Bricsys gains

The most excellent Heidi Hewett was, bafflingly, one of the big-name casualties in Autodesk’s latest experience cull. What was already a big loss to Autodesk has been compounded by her arrival at Autodesk’s most significant AutoCAD competitor, Bricsys. Heidi has accepted a position as User Success Manager with the Belgian company. I don’t blame her. Bricsys is where the action is. Here’s her opening salvo: For well over a decade, the world was told that the .dwg file format is not suitable for advanced design workflows. It can’t be used for mechanical design, and it certainly can’t be used for …

Andrew Anagnost apology for AutoCAD 2019 rollout disaster

Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost has sent an email to customers affected by the AutoCAD 2019 rollout disaster that acted as a remote kill-switch for users of earlier releases of subscription software. The email’s subject is We Missed the Mark: Readers of this blog will be aware that Andrew and I have fundamental disagreements on where he has taken the company, but credit where credit is due. An apology was appropriate in this case, and Andrew stepped up and made one. He has also stated on Twitter that it won’t happen again. I don’t think such a guarantee is realistic, given …

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 …

Discarded Autodesk employees – how old were you when you were let go?

Some things have been mentioned to me privately that have made me curious. Curiosity is like an itch for me, I just have to scratch it. So here goes. If you have been let go, fired, made redundant, discarded, dumped, sacked, had your office closed, encouraged to take a termination offer, sidelined into an untenable position, failed to have your contract renewed or otherwise ceased your employment at Autodesk in a not-entirely-voluntary manner in the last ten years, I’d like to know how old you were at the time. There’s a poll in this post and in the left sidebar. …

Autodesk kills ArtCAM, proves subscription is terrible for customers

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 …

The great Autodesk Collections rip-off

Autodesk not only wants to move its customers from perpetual licenses to subscription (rental), it wants to move them from individual products to Industry Collections. Why? Because the rental cost of Collections is higher and more money can be extracted from each customer. There’s nothing conspiracy-theorist about the above statement, it has been explicitly laid out by now-CEO Andrew Anagnost at an Investor Day, and the cunning plan has been placed on the public record. Have a good read of that document, it’s very revealing. AutoCAD LT users are going to be “encouraged” into full AutoCAD, AutoCAD users are are …

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 …

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 …

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?