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 how much you point out that single-user subscription licensing is a crock, it will be a case of “computer says no”.



  1. Another little known issue with the rental licenses affects network rental. With a traditional perpetual license, you can set the borrow period for your network license up to 6 months. However, because the rental network licenses have an “Expiration”, you can’t borrow beyond the license term.

    3 months before your subscription expires, you can only borrow for 3 months. One month until renewal? You can only borrow for 30 days. If you’re in the last week of your subscription, you can only borrow for a week.

    If you have users ready to leave and work in a remote environment without connectivity for an extended period, you better hope they don’t depart for their assignment at the tail end of your subscription period.

  2. I feel like any change in the Autodesk world equals political turmoil. I have been running “rental” standalone for 18 months with no issues on a laptop that was and was not connected to the internet. ZERO issues.

    Now, if i forget to pay my electricity, then i’m only as good for as long as my battery, which lasts all of 10 mins since it’s 5 years old like the laptop itself.

    As a parent, when enough is enough, i have to set some rules, even for the good kids. Have you done work with folks that pirate the software? Better yet, work with a firm that installed the standalone version with 1 license on 20 machines? Yes, that actually happens today. I did some work with a firm that only had 1 license internally for a staff of 5 engineers and then sent work to a sister company that had no licenses for 30 drafters. This happens more than you know….

    So, if blame is your deal, shoot those flames at the other “kids” not your parents.

    • Change can be good or bad. Good change gets praised and bad change gets called out. Problem?

      I would certainly hope that a single piece of software, paid for in advance, on a single laptop, with a single user isn’t disabled by license issues. That’s a very low bar. If you had been without connectivity for more than 30 days straight, your setup wouldn’t have reached even that bar.

      Piracy isn’t particularly relevant to this argument. It certainly won’t go away because of rental software, see here.

      Autodesk isn’t my parent, and I’m not a child to be punished for the naughtiness of others. I’m a customer. Customers are the ones holding the cash Autodesk needs to survive. If Autodesk wants the cash, it has to provide what customers want.

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