Autodesk Fusion 360 massive subscription price rise/drop

Autodesk’s cloud-based 3D design tool, Fusion 360, is changing price and structure from 7 October 2018. Whether it’s a huge price rise or a huge price drop depends on your perspective. Price rise The current annual subscription cost for Fusion 360 is US$310 and that’s going to change to US$495, which represents a 60% price increase. Existing subscribers are being kept at the same annual rate of US$310 or US$300 (depending on when you first subscribed) “for as long as you renew”. Existing subscribers, that looks like a promise to never increase your prices as long as you keep up …

Explaining the four tiers of AutoCAD license

Yesterday’s tiers Once upon a time, long long ago, you could buy AutoCAD with or without sets of features  called Advanced Drafting Extensions (ADE) containing optional extras such as dimensioning. At one stage you could buy four tiers of AutoCAD license at different prices: AutoCAD AutoCAD + ADE1 AutoCAD + ADE2 (incorporating ADE1) AutoCAD + ADE3 (incorporating ADE1 and ADE2) (Interestingly, the above situation is similar to the current arrangement with BricsCAD, where BricsCAD Classic, Pro and Platinum are available with incrementing prices and feature sets, with BricsCAD BIM and Sheet Metal available on top of Platinum). As almost everybody bought …

Fix released for Autodesk subscription licensing error (yes, another one)

Providing yet another entry in the it’ll never happen again file, Autodesk has issued a fix for an AutoCAD 2018 subscription licensing crash. Thankfully, it’s not compulsory to use the execrable Autodesk desktop app or malware-like Akamai download manager to obtain this fix. There are direct links for the 32-bit and 64-bit fixes. Lessons we learned from this: AutoCAD doesn’t just phone home once every 30 days to maintain even a long-term a subscription license, it phones home 24 hours later too. And probably every 24 hours after that. Desktop software that relies on the internet to continue working is …

Autodesk subscription price rise certainty

In my previous posts exploring the costs associated with various CAD software licensing scenarios, there was always a need for assumptions because Autodesk had failed to provide any pricing information beyond a point a year or so from now. As a result, expecting the worst appeared to be the safest strategy. To Autodesk’s credit, this situation is now partially addressed. From this Autodesk web page: We’re extending our price commitment through 2028 for customers who continue to renew after they switch. The special Move to Subscription renewal suggested retail price will increase by no more than 5% in 2021, 2023, …

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.

An email exchange with a friend about AutoCAD

Here’s an email exchange I just had with a friend. He’s a local person who I don’t normally discuss CAD with. He works for an architect. He has given me permission to use this discussion here. Hi Steve, We are looking to update from 2007 and 2010 versions in the office to more recent versions of Autodesk’s AutoCAD. We don’t need full version but if that’s what is available ok then. Lite version is ok as we use for 2D architectural only. We use other packages when 3D work required. We also have call to open consultants drawings which may …

Autodesk remotely killswitches AutoCAD licenses – again

Following the AutoCAD 2019 rollout disaster, where subscription users found their AutoCAD 2018s were broken by an Autodesk licensing system meltdown, Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost issued an apology. He also assured customers on Twitter that it wouldn’t happen again: While I welcomed that, I did have this to say at the time: I don’t think such a guarantee is realistic, given that the nature of subscription software is to only work when it knows you’ve paid up. At least it demonstrates that the desire is there right at the top to try to prevent such debacles from occurring in future. …

Why One AutoCAD is smart strategy

OK, so Autodesk may have blown the AutoCAD 2019 rollout, triggering an apology from CEO Andrew Anagnost. OK, AutoCAD 2019 may have the smallest set of significant advances in the history of AutoCAD releases. If you’re wondering, I give it 1/10. The “there can be only one” hype could easily refer to meaningful improvements to the product per year. This year’s improvement is… drawing compare! Still, AutoCAD 2019 is a significant release for reasons beyond the content of the core product. An examination of the One AutoCAD strategy reveals a collective corporate mind that’s smarter than it’s being given credit …

AutoCAD 2019 rollout disaster

If you’re an AutoCAD user, you may have been intrigued by the news about the new way Autodesk is bundling up AutoCAD 2019 with various verticals (perpetual license owners need not apply). This is Autodesk’s latest attempt to promote its subscription model and raise prices again. 7% this time, but much more to come. But never mind that, the main point is that you’re getting a whole lot of stuff, and who could say that’s not a good thing? So it’s most unfortunate for Autodesk that the AutoCAD 2019 rollout has been an unmitigated disaster. My own experiences in trying …

Autodesk subscription offer – the first cracks appear in the all-rental wall

Thanks to a comment by Fabien, I recently learned of a new offer from Autodesk to convert perpetual licenses to subscription (rental). It turns out that this is a global offer from 7 February to 20 April 2018. Such offers come and go from time to time and most are not particularly interesting. This one is. Not because you’ll want to take it up (you probably won’t), but because of what it represents. Here’s how it appears on Autodesk’s site: What’s really interesting about this offer is this sentence: If you are not satisfied, you can switch back to your …

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 …

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%. …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …