New Autodesk subscription idea – any interest?

Let’s say Autodesk came up with a new offer for customers currently under maintenance. Let’s say you could switch to subscription (rental) with the same price as maintenance, locked in with no increases for three years. In addition, you get to retain, but not upgrade, your perpetual license. Let’s say you’re on maintenance which is up for renewal later this year. You currently have a perpetual license of AutoCAD 2018. If you accept this offer, you will always retain that AutoCAD 2018 license. You switch to subscription and pay the maintenance amount for one to three years. Your subscription fee …

New Autodesk subscription offer to perpetual license holders

Don’t get too excited. Autodesk’s recent attempt to price-force perpetual license maintenance customers onto subscription (rental) remains in place, unchanged and just as unappealing as before. If you’re one of those customers, there’s nothing new here of interest to you. This new offer, at 30% off the normal but extremely high subscription price, is at first sight even less appealing than the approximately 60% saving that the above offer provides. But it’s aimed at different customers, and there’s the remote possibility that such customers might find it worthwhile. The new offer is called FY18 Q1 Autodesk – Global Field Promotion …

Ask Teresa from Autodesk your maintenance and subscription questions

As a follow-up to the Pixel Fondue video I posted earlier, Greg reports: Since then Teresa Anania (Teresa from the letter) has contacted me and has agreed to do a pixelfondue livestream and answer some questions people may have. So…if you want to ask Teresa something directly post your question here and I will send it to her. I obviously can’t guarantee that I will ask (or she will answer) all questions. Teresa is (to her credit) reaching out to customers in a more personal way here – and maybe we can help her understand our feelings about AD’s move …

AutoCAD 2018 – bear this in mind

Given the dearth of new functionality in AutoCAD in recent years, it’s understandable that Autodesk has taken to claiming credit for the same thing twice. The same features have been touted once for the 2017.1 mid-term update and again as 2018 new features. Even I fell for it, listing linetype gap selection as a 2018 feature in my original review. For the purposes of reviewing the earlier AutoCAD releases and AutoCAD 2018 as upgrades, I have included the 2017.1 features in 2018, not 2017. Some of those features are praiseworthy, and there have been some minor improvements to some of …

AutoCAD 2018 – 2/10, would not rent

It must be March, because another AutoCAD has just been launched. Despite this one being codenamed Omega, I’ve been assured it’s not the final AutoCAD release. The good news is that AutoCAD 2018 is twice the upgrade that 2017 was. But hold your excitement, because the bad news is that 2017 was only a 1/10 upgrade. Autodesk has continued the well-established tradition of acting like a low-quality sausage machine, reliably popping out consistently unexciting products at regular intervals. Here’s what’s in this year’s underwhelming sausage: Xrefs now default to relative path attachment and there are a few associated tweaks including …

ADSK v ADBE – a tale of two graphs

I’m no financial analyst, so I’ll just leave these graphs here for your own interpretation. They show the profit/loss numbers for two software companies beginning with A that have abandoned perpetual license sales and gone all-subscription (rental). Among other significant differences, one company went with very low rental prices while the other has extremely high rental prices. How have these differing strategies played out for Adobe and Autodesk? Green shows profit; red shows loss. Adobe moved to the all-rental model earlier than Autodesk. The Autodesk graph therefore covers a shorter period than the Adobe one. Feel free to slide the …

Video nicely captures Autodesk customer sentiment

In this video starting at 42:21, Greg from Pixel Fondue had a few words to say about Autodesk’s attempt to price-force perpetual license owners onto subscription (rental). I think he captures the current Autodesk customer mood quite nicely.

Here are some of the highlights from Greg and others:

44:36 – If you’re gonna eff me, know my name.

45:20 – The only thing they forgot to attach to this was the head of a horse.

46:54 – If they didn’t think it was a tough sell, they wouldn’t have written a 2000 word essay…

49:14 – This is a trade-in, and they’re looking to take this [Entertainment Creation Suite]. So I give you this, this $12,000 investment … I give it back to you, plus like another $1,000 … and you give me the exact same thing. Except I no longer own it.

51:02 – Hi! Give us your thing you bought from us, we’ll rent it back to you… dumbass!

58:49 – It’s OK to be pissed, and Autodesk needs to know that people are pissed. So, Teresa, people are pissed. That’s a bullshit letter. Be honest with us.

Autodesk starts answering subscription questions, but many remain

Getting worthwhile non-rubbery information out of Autodesk on the maintenance to subscription push has been like pulling teeth. Well, one tooth has popped out now. There are a rotten mouthful still to go, but some progress is being made. Here is the latest Autodesk communication on this subject. While it gives the impression of providing transparency, there’s still not enough there to provide enough certainty to convince any but the most naive customers to throw away their perpetual licenses. If you try pumping Autodesk’s numbers into my costing spreadsheet, you can get so far and then you’re back to guesswork …

One invitation to Autodesk and another to Autodesk’s competitors

Dear Autodesk PR person, you are undoubtedly aware that I have published a series of posts that detail exactly why switching from maintenance to subscription is a bad deal. If you believe anything I have written to be in error, feel free to contact me with what you believe to be the correct information. I intend to publish an extensive detailed summary on Monday 13 March, with or without your input. You know where to find me, over to you. Dear Autodesk-competitor PR person, if you are providing any kind of special offer to entice disgruntled Autodesk customers over to …

Autodesk customers are revolting

I don’t know what kind of reception Autodesk thought it was going to get to its less-than-fully-frank announcement that it was hiking up the price of maintenance to push perpetual license owners onto subscription (rental). I suppose some negative feedback was expected, but I’m not sure the marketing mavens would have anticipated such a degree of near-universal outright hostility. I suspect they may have overestimated their ability to pull the wool over the eyes of a community that is generally technically smart and, thanks to Autodesk’s history in recent years, somewhat lacking in trust. The Autodesk Community forum moderators are …

Welcome to the new bosses…

…same as the old Bass. If you’re hoping the change at the top of Autodesk is going to result in a change to the all-rental business model, abandon that hope now. In this nodding-heavy video, temporary co-CEOs Amar Hanspal (product guy) and Andrew “Baked Beans” Anagnost (marketing guy) confirm it’s full steam ahead. Not unexpected, really. If either of these guys is selected as CEO (my money’s on Amar), the rental push will continue. Don’t expect to be saved by an incoming CEO, either. The Autodesk board won’t appoint a non-believer. If you won’t abandon your perpetual licenses, you’ll need …

Bullshit Returns – Autodesk maintenance price hike part 2

In this post I continue skewering the welcome post to Autodesk’s Moving to Subscription forum. See here for part 1. Access to new industry collections – Available only through subscription, you’ll realize significant savings when you need two or more Autodesk software products. Bullshit. Industry collections are just rental-only engorged suites. Suites are those things with many more than two products; things that Autodesk has been pushing hard for years, before dropping them from the price list. If you already have a suite that contains the products you need (remember, Autodesk’s statements are aimed at existing perpetual license holders), switching …

Bullshit Returns – Autodesk maintenance price hike part 1

Just when you think it’s safe to walk across the cattle enclosure in your best shoes, Autodesk drops another steaming pile of spin for its customers to step into. Here, I’m skewering the welcome post to Autodesk’s Moving to Subscription forum. However, I believe I should really acknowledge the unnamed author of the Important Updates on Maintenance Plans FAQ, which the welcome post has merely paraphrased for simplicity. There’s so much bullshit in there that I’m going to split my exploration of it into two posts. Let’s put on some rubber gloves and start delving around in the muck, shall …

Chat to Autodesk about being pushed onto rental

I’ll post later about Autodesk’s oft–predicted–here but just-announced plan to use price increases to push you out of your perpetual licenses, and the execrable spin being used to sell it. This post is just to let you know that Autodesk has kindly provided a forum in which you can discuss this issue. Why not wander over there and have your say? Autodesk is deaf and blind on this subject so it won’t make a difference, but at least you might feel better to have your say and let others know they’re not alone. Here’s the link to the Moving to …

The Cloud Broke – a poem

The cloud broke
And teardrops fell
On the desks
Of those who fell
For the lure
Of a cloudy hell.


The landlord laughs
To see such fun
Collects his rent
From web he spun
He still gets paid
When things don’t run.


I said t’would be
It’s come to pass
Surprised? Not me
With or without Bass
Autodesk’s cloud
Can kiss this SaaS.

Carl cashing in his chips

Here’s an interesting Carl Bass exit interview with Roopinder Tara at engineering.com. If you’re wondering just how much stock Carl offloaded in those planned sales, here are his reported sales of Autodesk stock in the weeks leading up to the resignation: 11 Jan 2017 $7,894,150 9 Jan 2017 $7,888,768 5 Jan 2017 $7,694,038 23 Dec 2016 $1,971,715 22 Dec 2016 $1,968,935 That’s $27m, give or take. Carl’s reported as having sold over $49m of Autodesk stock over the last three years. While Carl still has tens of millions of Autodesk stock, dumping that much of it before leaving doesn’t strike …

The next Autodesk CEO – polls

Here, have some fun by voting in these polls. Idea shamelessly stolen from Paul Munford on Twitter.

Who do you want to be the next Autodesk CEO?

  • Amar Hanspal (18%, 32 Votes)
  • Andrew Anagnost (12%, 21 Votes)
  • Jeff Kowalski (7%, 13 Votes)
  • Amy Bunzel (2%, 4 Votes)
  • Other Autodesk person (5%, 8 Votes)
  • Elon Musk (28%, 50 Votes)
  • Other outsider (27%, 48 Votes)

Total Voters: 176

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Who do you think will be the next Autodesk CEO?

  • Amar Hanspal (41%, 53 Votes)
  • Andrew Anagnost (8%, 11 Votes)
  • Jeff Kowalski (11%, 14 Votes)
  • Amy Bunzel (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Other Autodesk person (5%, 7 Votes)
  • Elon Musk (11%, 14 Votes)
  • Other outsider (22%, 29 Votes)

Total Voters: 130

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Another series of Autodesk statements

Having established what happens when Autodesk claims to have no plans to do nasty anti-customer things, (it goes ahead and does them), let’s examine another nasty anti-customer thing it hasn’t got around to doing. Yet. Will Autodesk discontinue the maintenance program that allows customers to keep their perpetual licenses up to date? Let’s see what Autodesk has been prepared to put in writing so far: There are no announced plans to end maintenance subscriptions. Matt DiMichele, August 2015, Autodesk Community Perpetual License Changes forum Hmm, we all know what “no plans” means, don’t we, children? I assure you we have …

CAD on the Cloud – available anytime, anywhere except when it isn’t

One of the multiple reasons Autodesk has failed to win over the masses to its Cloudy CAD vision is fear of unreliability. Anything that relies on using somebody else’s computer over the Internet adds potential points of failure to those already there on a standalone desktop system. These additional vulnerabilities include: Your browser or thin client software fails Your modem, cabling or other Internet connectivity hardware fails Your Internet service provider has an outage Malware or DDOS attacks on your domain or service Governmental Internet service interference Internet connectivity infrastructure failure Malware or DDOS attacks on vendor domain or service …

Return of the bullshit – baked beans edition

In an October 2015 post I’ve only just noticed, snappily titled No More Software Like a Can of Baked Beans: Why Software Subscription Serves It Up Fresh, Autodesk VP (edit – now CEO) Andrew Anagnost bravely attempts to sell Autodesk’s move to all-rental software. This is a rather belated response, but fortunately there is no statute of limitations on skewering spin so let’s get started. How does he go? On a positive note, top marks for creative writing! The general theme is a strained and somewhat Californian analogy in which perpetual licenses are like canned goods (bad), and rental is …