In a recent comment, I was asked how I know Autodesk’s move to all-rental is the opposite of what customers want. Have I conducted research? This is an excellent question and deserves a proper answer.
So how do I know this? Why am I so convinced? There are several independent sources of evidence, one bit of critical thinking and one undeniable proof. They all point in the same direction. First, a bit of evidence.
- There are many public places on the Internet where this issue has been discussed, including Autodesk’s own discussion groups. The viewpoints expressed everywhere are overwhelmingly against Autodesk’s all-rental plans.
- There are private places Autodesk customers hang out where I have access, and I receive private emails. Again, the overwhelmingly majority of the viewpoints I see expressed are very strongly against Autodesk’s strategy.
- There’s a poll right here. How’s it going?
- None of that is very scientific, but Autodesk has conducted proper research. Among other things, it gathered customer focus groups at AU to determine the mood regarding going all-rental. I know somebody who went to one of those. The customers present at that particular gathering were 100% against.
OK, so you don’t want to accept any of that? Can’t trust the sources? It’s all a bit anecdotal? Fine. How about a bit of critical thinking?
- Most customers of major Autodesk products are long-term users who would undeniably pay more via rental than perpetual and then have nothing to show for it when they stop paying. What are the chances of most of them wanting that outcome?
Still not convinced? OK. The most concrete way in which it could be determined whether customers prefer rental would be an experiment in which both options were made available and the market were allowed to decide. An expensive experiment, sure, but impossible to argue with the result.
Autodesk conducted that experiment. Twice. Once quite a few years ago, and again in 2013. Rental was offered alongside perpetual licensing. Rental lost. Twice. It was abandoned as a choice. Twice. The market has spoken. Twice.
Rental for Autodesk products is a handy option for a minority of customers but a non-starter for the majority, given the choice. Autodesk knows the only chance of making rental work in its marketplace is to remove that choice.