I like Dieter Schlaepfer, we’ve been arguing for years.
Dieter and I have never met in person, but online we go back to the CIS:ACAD CompuServe days of the early 1990s. Dieter’s a good guy who has done a splendid job with AutoCAD documentation content for decades. He is genuinely interested in improving the product and customer experience, and has done a great deal to do so over the years.
Dieter’s responsible for the most-commented post on this blog, AutoCAD 2013 – An Autodesk Help writer responds with 164 comments and was a heavy contributor to the 95 comments on the recent AutoCAD 2018 – why did the DWG format change? post.
If you read the comments here, you’ll know that Dieter is the only Autodesk person brave enough to put his head above the parapet and enter into … Full post
Yes, you really can still buy Autodesk perpetual licenses in the European Union. You just can’t buy them from Autodesk.
Where can you buy those licenses? From other customers who don’t need them any more. Unlike some jurisdictions, the EU respects the doctrine of first sale for computer software. This means sale of pre-owned software is allowed, and any EULA restrictions attempting to prevent that are invalid. This was established in 2012 by the EU’s highest court, The Court of Justice for the European Union (CJEU) in the case of UsedSoft v Oracle.
Autodesk and all other software vendors in EU countries have to respect that, so the perpetual license remains valid after transfer to the new owner. The previous owner must be able to document the validity of the license and must delete or disable their copy of the software upon transfer.
While I have no personal experience of … Full post
According to Autodesk, one of the benefits of subscription (rental) is simplified administration. To prove it, Autodesk has provided a simple guide for CAD Managers called The Software Administrator’s Guide to Autodesk Subscriptions – How to Set Up, Install, and Manage Your Software and Users.
It’s 18.7 MB and 78 pages long.
Don’t worry though, this simple guide helpfully includes a simple guide on how to read it.
Among other things, this eBook provides handy hints on how subscription’s simplified administration regime for standalone licenses requires you to pre-emptively name all your users, set them all up with Autodesk accounts and define what software each is allowed to use. There’s a note to say that your Internet connection needs to be working at the time of installation (obviously) and also every 30 days (less obvious) or you won’t be able to use the software.
The guide … Full post
I described before how customers are outraged by Autodesk’s attempt to price-force them onto subscription (rental). That’s still happening. The Autodesk Community forum moderators are still vacuuming up threads and Ideas submissions and moving them to the Moving to Subscription forum, which despite its obscurity is still active with some threads now having hundreds of posts.
Other discussions in various non-Autodesk locations are extending over many pages of comments. Almost all comments are highly critical of Autodesk. A large portion of these customers say they are abandoning Autodesk. Many are discussing the specific competitors’ software they are moving to.
In addition to the Autodesk forum staff confining commentary to a quiet corner, another way of keeping the public noise down is by directing people to talk to their resellers. Yesterday, I did just that. The rep who … Full post
Let’s say Autodesk came up with a new offer for customers currently under maintenance. Let’s say you could switch to subscription (rental) with the same price as maintenance, locked in with no increases for three years. In addition, you get to retain, but not upgrade, your perpetual license.
Let’s say you’re on maintenance which is up for renewal later this year. You currently have a perpetual license of AutoCAD 2018. If you accept this offer, you will always retain that AutoCAD 2018 license. You switch to subscription and pay the maintenance amount for one to three years. Your subscription fee is guaranteed to rise by no more than 20% total by year five.
As long as you continue to pay subscription, you get access to new releases (2019, 2020, etc). If you decide to no longer renew your subscription at any point, you can no longer use the new releases, … Full post
Don’t get too excited. Autodesk’s recent attempt to price-force perpetual license maintenance customers onto subscription (rental) remains in place, unchanged and just as unappealing as before. If you’re one of those customers, there’s nothing new here of interest to you.
This new offer, at 30% off the normal but extremely high subscription price, is at first sight even less appealing than the approximately 60% saving that the above offer provides. But it’s aimed at different customers, and there’s the remote possibility that such customers might find it worthwhile.
The new offer is called FY18 Q1 Autodesk – Global Field Promotion and is aimed at bringing into the rental fold those customers who hold old perpetual licenses that are not on maintenance. If you have an old AutoCAD Release 14 lying around that has never been upgraded, or an AutoCAD 2007 license where you allowed the maintenance … Full post
As a follow-up to the Pixel Fondue video I posted earlier, Greg reports:
Since then Teresa Anania (Teresa from the letter) has contacted me and has agreed to do a pixelfondue livestream and answer some questions people may have. So…if you want to ask Teresa something directly post your question here and I will send it to her. I obviously can’t guarantee that I will ask (or she will answer) all questions. Teresa is (to her credit) reaching out to customers in a more personal way here – and maybe we can help her understand our feelings about AD’s move to subscription, especially how it pertains to current license holders.
Teresa Anania is Autodesk’s Senior Director, Subscription Success. It is indeed commendable that Teresa is prepared to step out of the Autodesk PR safe zone and field questions and comments from real people in an environment … Full post
Given the dearth of new functionality in AutoCAD in recent years, it’s understandable that Autodesk has taken to claiming credit for the same thing twice. The same features have been touted once for the 2017.1 mid-term update and again as 2018 new features. Even I fell for it, listing linetype gap selection as a 2018 feature in my original review.
For the purposes of reviewing the earlier AutoCAD releases and AutoCAD 2018 as upgrades, I have included the 2017.1 features in 2018, not 2017. Some of those features are praiseworthy, and there have been some minor improvements to some of the 2017.1 features in 2018, but let’s count them just once, please.
Blogs and sites that just regurgitate Autodesk’s take on what’s new in AutoCAD 2018 might inadvertently repeat the double-dipping. Bear that in mind when … Full post
It must be March, because another AutoCAD has just been launched. Despite this one being codenamed Omega, I’ve been assured it’s not the final AutoCAD release. The good news is that AutoCAD 2018 is twice the upgrade that 2017 was. But hold your excitement, because the bad news is that 2017 was only a 1/10 upgrade.
Autodesk has continued the well-established tradition of acting like a low-quality sausage machine, reliably popping out consistently unexciting products at regular intervals.
Here’s what’s in this year’s underwhelming sausage:
- Xrefs now default to relative path attachment and there are a few associated tweaks including find/replace path
- You can select objects off-screen (handier than it sounds)
- File dialogs remember settings
- A couple more dialogs can be resized
- There are a couple more tiny user interface tweaks
- The stuff from 2017.1 is included, of course, some seeing minor improvements since then
- iDrop … Full post
I’m no financial analyst, so I’ll just leave these graphs here for your own interpretation. They show the profit/loss numbers for two software companies beginning with A that have abandoned perpetual license sales and gone all-subscription (rental).
Among other significant differences, one company went with very low rental prices while the other has extremely high rental prices. How have these differing strategies played out for Adobe and Autodesk? Green shows profit; red shows loss.
Adobe moved to the all-rental model earlier than Autodesk. The Autodesk graph therefore covers a shorter period than the Adobe one. Feel free to slide the Autodesk one along to the point you think best matches the equivalent point in the Adobe timeline.
In this video starting at 42:21, Greg from Pixel Fondue had a few words to say about Autodesk’s attempt to price-force perpetual license owners onto subscription (rental). I think he captures the current Autodesk customer mood quite nicely.
Here are some of the highlights from Greg and others:
44:36 – If you’re gonna eff me, know my name.
45:20 – The only thing they forgot to attach to this was the head of a horse.
46:54 – If they didn’t think it was a tough sell, they wouldn’t have written a 2000 word essay…
49:14 – This is a trade-in, and they’re looking to take this [Entertainment Creation Suite]. So I give you this, this $12,000 investment … I give it back to you, plus like another $1,000 … and you give me the exact same thing. Except I no longer own it.
51:02 – Hi! Give us your thing you bought from us, we’ll rent it back to you… dumbass!
58:49 – It’s OK to be pissed, and Autodesk needs to know that people are pissed. So, Teresa, people are pissed. That’s a bullshit letter. Be honest with us.
Getting worthwhile non-rubbery information out of Autodesk on the maintenance to subscription push has been like pulling teeth. Well, one tooth has popped out now. There are a rotten mouthful still to go, but some progress is being made.
Here is the latest Autodesk communication on this subject. While it gives the impression of providing transparency, there’s still not enough there to provide enough certainty to convince any but the most naive customers to throw away their perpetual licenses. If you try pumping Autodesk’s numbers into my costing spreadsheet, you can get so far and then you’re back to guesswork again. If you guess low, it’s merely a bad deal. If you guess high, it’s an atrocious deal. For you, not for Autodesk; I’m sure Autodesk will be happy with whatever deal it decides to inflict.
There are huge holes in what has been stated that … Full post
Dear Autodesk PR person, you are undoubtedly aware that I have published a series of posts that detail exactly why switching from maintenance to subscription is a bad deal. If you believe anything I have written to be in error, feel free to contact me with what you believe to be the correct information. I intend to publish an extensive detailed summary on Monday 13 March, with or without your input. You know where to find me, over to you.
Dear Autodesk-competitor PR person, if you are providing any kind of special offer to entice disgruntled Autodesk customers over to your fold under these special circumstances, let me know about it. I will pass the information on to my readers in another post, as-is, and not as any kind of recommendation. You can comment here in public or email me.
I don’t know what kind of reception Autodesk thought it was going to get to its less-than-fully-frank announcement that it was hiking up the price of maintenance to push perpetual license owners onto subscription (rental).
I suppose some negative feedback was expected, but I’m not sure the marketing mavens would have anticipated such a degree of near-universal outright hostility. I suspect they may have overestimated their ability to pull the wool over the eyes of a community that is generally technically smart and, thanks to Autodesk’s history in recent years, somewhat lacking in trust.
The Autodesk Community forum moderators are busily vacuuming up threads from all over the place and moving them to the near-invisible new Moving to Subscription forum, which in due course will no doubt be made read-only and merged into semi-oblivion, just like the last one.
Despite … Full post
…same as the old Bass.
If you’re hoping the change at the top of Autodesk is going to result in a change to the all-rental business model, abandon that hope now. In this nodding-heavy video, temporary co-CEOs Amar Hanspal (product guy) and Andrew “Baked Beans” Anagnost (marketing guy) confirm it’s full steam ahead. Not unexpected, really.
If either of these guys is selected as CEO (my money’s on Amar), the rental push will continue. Don’t expect to be saved by an incoming CEO, either. The Autodesk board won’t appoint a non-believer.
If you won’t abandon your perpetual licenses, you’ll need to abandon Autodesk.
In this post I continue skewering the welcome post to Autodesk’s Moving to Subscription forum. See here for part 1.
Access to new industry collections – Available only through subscription, you’ll realize significant savings when you need two or more Autodesk software products.
Bullshit. Industry collections are just rental-only engorged suites. Suites are those things with many more than two products; things that Autodesk has been pushing hard for years, before dropping them from the price list. If you already have a suite that contains the products you need (remember, Autodesk’s statements are aimed at existing perpetual license holders), switching to an industry collection will cost you vastly more. That’s the opposite of significant savings.
New and improved support – Enjoy faster response times and the option to receive help by scheduling a call with Autodesk technical support specialists.
It’s just possible this isn’t … Full post
Just when you think it’s safe to walk across the cattle enclosure in your best shoes, Autodesk drops another steaming pile of spin for its customers to step into.
Here, I’m skewering the welcome post to Autodesk’s Moving to Subscription forum. However, I believe I should really acknowledge the unnamed author of the Important Updates on Maintenance Plans FAQ, which the welcome post has merely paraphrased for simplicity.
There’s so much bullshit in there that I’m going to split my exploration of it into two posts. Let’s put on some rubber gloves and start delving around in the muck, shall we?
Autodesk believes that subscribing is the best way for our customers to get the greatest value from our tools and technologies
Bullshit. Autodesk believes the opposite, as does anyone else with more than two brain cells to rub together. The whole idea is … Full post
I’ll post later about Autodesk’s oft–predicted–here but just-announced plan to use price increases to push you out of your perpetual licenses, and the execrable spin being used to sell it.
This post is just to let you know that Autodesk has kindly provided a forum in which you can discuss this issue. Why not wander over there and have your say? Autodesk is deaf and blind on this subject so it won’t make a difference, but at least you might feel better to have your say and let others know they’re not alone.
Here’s the link to the Moving to Subscription forum. Here’s the welcome message.
Hot tip: keep a text copy of what you have to say. If, as happened before, Autodesk gets heavy with the censorship scissors and slices through your statement, you can repost … Full post
The cloud broke
And teardrops fell
On the desks
Of those who fell
For the lure
Of a cloudy hell.
The landlord laughs
To see such fun
Collects his rent
From web he spun
He still gets paid
When things don’t run.
I said t’would be
It’s come to pass
Surprised? Not me
With or without Bass
Can kiss this SaaS.
Here’s an interesting Carl Bass exit interview with Roopinder Tara at engineering.com. If you’re wondering just how much stock Carl offloaded in those planned sales, here are his reported sales of Autodesk stock in the weeks leading up to the resignation:
- 11 Jan 2017 $7,894,150
- 9 Jan 2017 $7,888,768
- 5 Jan 2017 $7,694,038
- 23 Dec 2016 $1,971,715
- 22 Dec 2016 $1,968,935
That’s $27m, give or take. Carl’s reported as having sold over $49m of Autodesk stock over the last three years.
While Carl still has tens of millions of Autodesk stock, dumping that much of it before leaving doesn’t strike me as the actions of someone as supremely confident in the future of Autodesk’s ailing cloud push and rent-or-go-away business model as his words would suggest.