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.
Hmm, we all know what “no plans” means, don’t we, children?
I assure you we have no plan to discontinue maintenance subscription plans for existing perpetual license owners.
Andrew Anagnost, September 2015, Cadalyst interview with Robert Green
“We have no plan” again, eh? That’s a concern.
Our lawyers frown on me using words like “never.” Do we have any plans to end maintenance? No we don’t, and our current intent is to keep the program running as long as our customers use it. Just like we don’t have plans to force customers to adopt subscription. If a customer wants to keep using their perpetual license, then they can continue to do so. If they want that perpetual software to be upgraded with the latest and greatest from Autodesk, then I encourage them to take advantage of maintenance. Keeping maintenance for our most loyal customers is the right thing to do.
Andrew Anagnost, 11 September 2015 in a comment following the Cadalyst interview
Another “don’t have plans” and an “our current intent”, eh? Now I’m really getting worried.
…let me get straight to the point. Maintenance is not going away. Autodesk customers can continue to renew their maintenance for as long as they want. And as stated before, we will not force customers to subscription. If you want to keep using your perpetual license, you can do so, or you can get on maintenance to stay current. You are right, maintaining two different business models is costly, but retaining loyal customers is worth it to us.
Andrew Anagnost, 24 September 2015 in a further comment following the Cadalyst interview
Ah, that’s better. Totally unambiguous. Anybody else?
…any perpetual license that you currently own, can continue to be used for as long as you like. Additionally, if that perpetual license is on Maintenance Subscription, then you will continue to receive support and product updates as long as the Maintenance Subscription is active.. We are not ending the Maintenance Subscription program… you can continue to renew your Maintenance Subscription contracts for as long as you wish.
Felice S, November 2015, Autodesk Community Perpetual License Changes forum
Maintenance customers can remain on maintenance for as long as they like and continue to receive the software updates to their product/suites as they become available.
Jeff Wright, VP, Customer Engagement, May 2016, Autodesk Community Perpetual License Changes forum
And if you’re on a software maintenance plan, you can continue to receive all of the benefits of software updates and technical support for as long as you’d like.
Carl White, July 2016, In The Fold blog post
…customers of Autodesk, for one, can continue to renew their maintenance contracts for as long as they want.
Andrew Anagnost, October 2016, Redshift blog post
Well, that all seems very definite, and from so many different sources. How about what Autodesk’s web site says right now in January 2017?
If you currently have a maintenance plan, you will continue enjoying the benefits of maintenance as long as you continue to renew. Autodesk has no plans to stop offering the option to renew maintenance plans; you can renew for as long as you want.
Perpetual Licensing Changes FAQ, Autodesk Knowledge Network
Customers who have a perpetual license on a maintenance plan after July 31, 2016 will have the option to renew their maintenance plan for as long as they wish.
Autodesk Maintenance Plans, Autodesk Knowledge Network
If you currently have a maintenance plan, you will continue enjoying the benefits of maintenance as long as you continue to renew.
Perpetual License Changes Information, Autodesk Knowledge Network
So that’s three “no plans” non-statements but eight totally unequivocal and unambiguous promises, in writing, that Autodesk will not discontinue maintenance plans. If only Carl Bass hadn’t let the cat out of the bag a couple of months ago, there might have been a chance that the more trusting among us would have believed it.
I think you can probably work out what’s likely to happen next. Autodesk will price maintenance out of the market over the next two or three years and then discontinue it, disingenuously claiming that it’s in response to a drop in customer demand. None of the above statements will prevent that from happening. Somebody tell me I’m wrong.