Autodesk now has only one CEO

The speculation is over. Autodesk no longer has Schrödinger’s CEO. Elon Musk has missed out, the winner is…

Andrew “Baked Beans” Anagnost!

 
Here’s the press release and here’s a letter from Andrew.

The other obvious internal candidate, Amar Hanspal, has decided to leave the company. Resigned on the spot, so I’m told. As the financial rewards for winning the CEO race are akin to winning the lottery, coming second must have been a major disappointment to product guy Amar, who I first met when he was helping to drive the hugely successful Release 14 program. Best wishes to Amar for the future …

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Bentley marketers love Autodesk

Bentley Systems marketers are currently taking advantage of Autodesk customers’ distaste for the Big A’s rent-or-GTFO business model.

For any Autodesk competitor, this is a fairly smart move. Autodesk has offered a free kick to its competitors and is betting on them all kicking the ball wide of the net. How accurate is Bentley’s shooting?

In this case, AutoCAD customers are being encouraged to take up MicroStation. Via the Cadalyst Direct opt-in advertising list, I received an email entitled AutoCAD Users, you need options. We listened:


Talk about feeling trapped (which has many Autodesk customers angry), options and flexibility (which Autodesk has removed) and listening (which Autodesk really sucks at) are clearly taking advantage of Autodesk’s self-inflicted subscription …

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Autodesk subscription offer begins today

It’s 15 June, which means all of those millions of Autodesk customers with perpetual licenses on maintenance can now give those licenses back to Autodesk and rent them back for about the same amount.

Tempted?

Despite Autodesk’s best efforts to sell this deal as a silk purse, it’s a real pig’s ear.

Artificially raising maintenance prices doesn’t make the subscription changeover deal any more attractive. It only serves to annoy those customers too sensible to throw away their valuable perpetual licences in return for a temporary price freeze and the vaguest of promises not to gouge you in future. History tells you exactly how much that promise is worth.

This can only be described as an astonishingly arrogant ambit claim by Autodesk. It should be ignored to death. Like any sign-up-now-or-lose-out used car deal, walking out of the …

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Autodesk and reseller satisfaction polls

Today I was asked to complete an Autodesk Reseller Satisfaction survey, which I was happy to do. My reseller does a good job. There was also a question about satisfaction with Autodesk.

I’ve shamelessly stolen Autodesk’s question and used it in a poll here. Please only respond if you are or were an Autodesk customer.

Customers - how would you rate your overall satisfaction with Autodesk?

View Results

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I’ve added a similar poll about Autodesk resellers. Please only respond if you are or were a customer of Autodesk resellers.

Customers - how would you rate your overall satisfaction with your Autodesk reseller?

View Results

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Here’s one just for Autodesk resellers. Please only respond if you are or were an Autodesk reseller.

Resellers - how would you rate your overall satisfaction with Autodesk?

View Results

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Feel free to comment here if you wish to discuss the ratings you provided.

Maybe I should complete the set and do polls for Autodesk and its resellers to rate their customers?

ADSK celebrates two full years of losses

Autodesk Reports Strong First Quarter Results, says the press release.

Autodesk co-CEO Amar Hanspal:

Broad-based strength across all subscription types and geographies led to another record quarter for total subscription additions and a fantastic start of the new fiscal year. Customers continue to embrace the subscription model, and we’re expanding our market opportunity with continued momentum of our cloud-based offerings, such as BIM 360 and Fusion 360.

 
Autodesk co-CEO Andrew Anagnost:

We’re executing well and making significant progress on our business model transition as evidenced by our first quarter results. We’re starting the year from a position of strength and are excited to kick off the next phase of our transition when we offer our maintenance customers a simple, cost effective path to product subscription starting next month.

Thanks to this fantastic progress into the exciting new customer-embraced rental-only business model, Autodesk has now recorded eight successive …

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Teresa from Autodesk in subscription interview

As a follow-up to the Pixel Fondue video I posted about earlier, Greg from Pixel Fondue conducted a follow-up interview with Teresa Anania, Autodesk’s Senior Director, Subscription Success.

Greg and I asked for your questions for Teresa and I passed on several of my own to him. A word of warning: don’t do as I did and watch through all 54 minutes waiting increasingly impatiently for those questions to come up. They don’t. Anyway, thanks to Greg for conducting this interview and to Teresa for participating.

Greg has now posted the video. Here’s the TL;DW (too long; didn’t watch) version:

  • Greg came up with some suggestions for making subscription more attractive (mainly to entertainment and media customers) and Teresa seemed open to those suggestions.
  • Teresa doubled down on a bunch of the spin that has been thoroughly skewered by …

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Autodesk products are falling like parrots

Autodesk is killing off products at such a rate I can’t keep up with it all. The latest ones to fall off the perch and join the choir invisible are Structural Detailing and Advance Concrete.

I think. As I said, I can’t keep up.

Despite the recent departures, Autodesk still has way too many products and it’s inevitable that the cull of Carl’s acquisitions and creations will continue. It’s just too bad if you’re one of the people using a product that Autodesk feels isn’t profitable and/or exciting enough, you’ll just have to learn to live without it.

Although 2017 has been particularly brutal for End Of Life experiences, Autodesk killing off products is of course nothing new. Autodesk is even named after a dead product (well, stillborn).

Trace back through Autodesk’s history and you’ll see a long and bloody trail of …

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Schrodinger’s CEO – Autodesk top job speculation

In an earlier post, I asked for your votes on a pair of polls regarding Autodesk’s replacement for Carl Bass as CEO.

Here are the final results from those polls. Although the details of who voted and for what will remain strictly and permanently confidential, I found it interesting to see a number of votes logged from IPs that originate from a well-known software company. I will get no more specific than that.

First, here’s who you think is most likely to be appointed:

Amar’s well ahead in the “person most likely” poll. But note the contrast with who you actually want to be the next Autodesk CEO, where outsiders get bigger numbers. Anyone would think …

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Autodesk’s revolting customers are evaporating

The revolting customers themselves aren’t evaporating, of course. They remain solid and are still as irate as ever. It’s just that the appearance of outrage is gradually fading away on the Autodesk Community forums.

As mentioned before, forum moderators have been busily vacuuming up threads from all over the place and moving them to the Moving to Subscription forum. Some time in the last week or so, that forum became less visible. It’s no longer listed among the bold links on the right pane under Subscription Management, but for now can still be found (if you look hard) in the list of 96 forums. Or at least you can get to the page above that forum, from where you can click on another link.

As it’s now so hard to …

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Dissecting Dieter’s perpetual points

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 …

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You can still buy Autodesk perpetual licenses in Europe

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 …

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Simplifying CAD Management the Autodesk way

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 …

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Autodesk customers are still revolting

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 …

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New Autodesk subscription idea – any interest?

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, …

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New Autodesk subscription offer to perpetual license holders

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 …

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Ask Teresa from Autodesk your maintenance and subscription questions

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 …

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AutoCAD 2018 – bear this in mind

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 …

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AutoCAD 2018 – 2/10, would not rent

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 …

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ADSK v ADBE – a tale of two graphs

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.

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Video nicely captures Autodesk customer sentiment

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.