No, not Autodesk getting it wrong, me getting it wrong. In recent posts, I supported my arguments against Autodesk’s move to all-rental software with faulty evidence. As pointed out to me by several commenters, I completely failed to take deferred revenue into account. I would like to sincerely thank those who pointed out my error.* Although I included a disclaimer about not being a financial analyst, I should have gone further and simply not ventured into areas I am ill-qualified to cover. I got it wrong. I therefore offer unreserved apologies to Autodesk and my readers.
I have done myself a bunch of graphs that I think paints a fairer picture of Autodesk’s position, but there’s a reasonable chance I’m wrong about that too so I won’t be publishing them. Instead, In a day or two, I will remove the content of the offending posts (but leave the shell of the posts there to preserve the comments). I do this not to hide my embarrassment, but to limit the degree of undeserved damage to Autodesk. Feel free to copy/paste, take screenshots, etc. of the posts until then. Of course, it’s not really possible to delete things from the Internet, so if you ever want to relive the joy of seeing me get things spectacularly wrong, feel free to use the Internet Archive to do so.
What this doesn’t mean
This doesn’t mean Autodesk is off the hook with the rental thing. It may not yet be a financial disaster of the magnitude I argued, but the jury is still very much out on whether it will eventually succeed. Even if it does (and I still have very strong doubts – doing the opposite of what your customers want is rarely a winning long-term strategy), it’s still a grotesquely anti-customer move which deserves to be vigorously opposed. I will continue to oppose it. I will continue to point out any faulty arguments that are used to support it. However, I will be much more careful to avoid using faulty arguments of my own.
* Autodesk could have also pointed out my error, but didn’t. Before I started commenting on rental I emailed Autodesk PR specifically encouraged them to point out any factual errors and/or seek a right of reply, but I want to make clear that isn’t what happened here. I have not backed off due to pressure or threats from Autodesk. Indeed, I have had no contact from Autodesk whatsoever in relation to my blog since it re-started. I continue to encourage such contact, but of course Autodesk is under no obligation to take up my offer.