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?

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 …

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 That leaves Stingray as the only surviving middleware product (for now). That’s probably only still alive because Autodesk wants the halo …

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 …

Bentley marketers love Autodesk

Bentley Systems marketers are currently taking advantage of Autodesk customers’ distaste for the Big A’s rent-or-GTFO business model. For any Autodesk competitor, this is a fairly smart move. Autodesk has offered a free kick to its competitors and is betting on them all kicking the ball wide of the net. How accurate is Bentley’s shooting? In this case, AutoCAD customers are being encouraged to take up MicroStation. Via the Cadalyst Direct opt-in advertising list, I received an email entitled AutoCAD Users, you need options. We listened: Talk about feeling trapped (which has many Autodesk customers angry), options and flexibility (which …

Autodesk subscription offer begins today

It’s 15 June, which means all of those millions of Autodesk customers with perpetual licenses on maintenance can now give those licenses back to Autodesk and rent them back for about the same amount. Tempted? Despite Autodesk’s best efforts to sell this deal as a silk purse, it’s a real pig’s ear. Artificially raising maintenance prices doesn’t make the subscription changeover deal any more attractive. It only serves to annoy those customers too sensible to throw away their valuable perpetual licences in return for a temporary price freeze and the vaguest of promises not to gouge you in future. History …

Autodesk and reseller satisfaction polls

Today I was asked to complete an Autodesk Reseller Satisfaction survey, which I was happy to do. My reseller does a good job. There was also a question about satisfaction with Autodesk.

I’ve shamelessly stolen Autodesk’s question and used it in a poll here. Please only respond if you are or were an Autodesk customer.

Customers - how would you rate your overall satisfaction with Autodesk?

  • 0 - Very dissatisfied (39%, 69 Votes)
  • 1 (6%, 11 Votes)
  • 2 (12%, 22 Votes)
  • 3 (11%, 19 Votes)
  • 4 (5%, 9 Votes)
  • 5 (4%, 8 Votes)
  • 6 (6%, 11 Votes)
  • 7 (7%, 13 Votes)
  • 8 (3%, 6 Votes)
  • 9 (2%, 3 Votes)
  • 10 - Very satisfied (4%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 178

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I’ve added a similar poll about Autodesk resellers. Please only respond if you are or were a customer of Autodesk resellers.

Customers - how would you rate your overall satisfaction with your Autodesk reseller?

  • 0 - Very dissatisfied (10%, 12 Votes)
  • 1 (2%, 3 Votes)
  • 2 (6%, 7 Votes)
  • 3 (5%, 6 Votes)
  • 4 (2%, 2 Votes)
  • 5 (17%, 21 Votes)
  • 6 (5%, 6 Votes)
  • 7 (13%, 17 Votes)
  • 8 (21%, 26 Votes)
  • 9 (8%, 10 Votes)
  • 10 - Very satisfied (13%, 16 Votes)

Total Voters: 126

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Here’s one just for Autodesk resellers. Please only respond if you are or were an Autodesk reseller.

Resellers - how would you rate your overall satisfaction with Autodesk?

  • 0 - Very dissatisfied (40%, 22 Votes)
  • 1 (11%, 6 Votes)
  • 2 (9%, 5 Votes)
  • 3 (15%, 8 Votes)
  • 4 (5%, 3 Votes)
  • 5 (4%, 2 Votes)
  • 6 (0%, 0 Votes)
  • 7 (0%, 0 Votes)
  • 8 (9%, 5 Votes)
  • 9 (4%, 2 Votes)
  • 10 - Very satisfied (4%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 55

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Feel free to comment here if you wish to discuss the ratings you provided.

Maybe I should complete the set and do polls for Autodesk and its resellers to rate their customers?