Here are some statements from Autodesk about not having any plans to do some things. Things that the more paranoid among us suspected were always in the pipeline. Things that seemed to be just joining the dots along a predictable path Autodesk appeared to be taking. Things that later ended up happening. But nevertheless things that were, apparently, unplanned.
How does he go? On a positive note, top marks for creative writing! The general theme is a strained and somewhat Californian analogy in which perpetual licenses are like canned goods (bad), and rental is like fresh produce (good). However, it’s presented well and professionally written. Among the highlights are:
Perpetual software licenses are like high-fructose corn syrup – no, I’m not making this up. Stop laughing at the back there!
This is a change that is simply a better experience for everyone – everyone who … Full post →
Hidden in amongst a bunch of the usual highly dubious subscription statements from Carl Bass is an announcement that spells doom for Autodesk perpetual license owners. I will resist the temptation to skewer Carl’s spin (for now) because this announcement is much more important:
Bass also confirmed that the company plans to converge the two existing subscription models — maintenance and product subscriptions — into a single offering over the next two years. “If you look out to fiscal year 2020, we want to be in a place where, first of all, we have a single kind of offering with a single back office and infrastructure to support it, one that will be a combination of product subscriptions as you see them plus a consumption model on top of it. That’s where we see the business heading.
“Along the way, it’s how do we motivate customers to … Full post →
So, how does the latest effort from Bentley shape up? Very well. It’s pretty much spot-on for accuracy. There’s nothing that could be described as disingenuous, misleading, or even exaggerated. I encourage you to read it and make up your own mind.
Bentley PR also invited me in on a press conference call, having first invited my questions. Although I was unable to take part in that call, I have listened to a recording of the event and that was similarly … Full post →
Somebody at Autodesk really does seem to have it in for Bentley right now. I thought they were friends? Oh well, times change.
Autodesk has launched a campaign to promote its BIM offerings for transportation projects and is promoting this via emails to existing customers, all of which is fair enough. It’s suggesting BIM is a better tool than traditional CAD for such projects. Another reasonable claim, so it’s appropriate for us to evaluate the arguments and examine the options.
What did Autodesk decide to call its campaign? Beyond AutoCAD? Beyond CAD? To BIM and Beyond?
Huh? You may have noticed I’m keen on alliteration, but still, huh? What does Bentley have to do with this? Most Autodesk CAD customers are going to know and care nothing about Bentley products. So why mention them at all? The headline is “Move … Full post →
In my last post, I gave Bentley a well-deserved slap for, er, saying things that perhaps weren’t entirely factual. Now it’s Autodesk’s turn.
What’s this about? Carl White, Senior Director of Business Models at Autodesk, wrote a blog post Not so fast Bentley: Separating fact from fiction responding to statements made by Bentley in its press release Bentley Announces Autodesk License Upgrade Program. Some of Carl’s observations on Bentley’s claims were perfectly valid, but unfortunately he went beyond that and wrote a few more things – “facts” – where he’s on shakier ground. Let’s examine Carl’s interpretation of reality, shall we?
Fact #1 – No Autodesk customer ever loses the right to use the perpetual software license you’ve purchased, it is “evergreen”.
This is generally true. There are exceptions (read the EULA), but let’s not split hairs. In the vast majority of cases, we don’t … Full post →
Earlier this week, Bentley announced an “upgrade program” for Autodesk customers. We found the offer to be disingenuous and mischaracterizes what Autodesk offers our customers.
OK, let’s have a look at what Carl is complaining about. Here’s one Bentley statement that could be considered questionable:
For consideration by owners of Autodesk perpetual licenses facing Autodesk’s imminent deadline for the write-off of the future value of their investment, Bentley Systems is offering recovery of the value otherwise subject to forfeit.
Carl has a point here. The “imminent deadline for the write-off of the future value” line is presented as fact, but at this stage it’s … Full post →
As I indicated in May, Autodesk will be increasing the cost of upgrades to 70% of the full retail cost of a new license. This renders it totally pointless upgrading Autodesk software at all, which is obviously Autodesk’s intention. This change probably won’t affect many people, as those who have chosen to stick with Autodesk despite everything have already been effectively forced onto Subscription. Anyway, here’s the confirmation from Autodesk:
In early 2013 Autodesk will simplify the current upgrade pricing model, which may affect pricing and/or eligibility for upgrades. Autodesk is providing advance notice to help ease the transition and ensure that customers have enough time to plan and budget for any impact to your organization.
As part of this change, Autodesk will be simplifying upgrades into a single offering available for licenses that are 1-6 versions old at a discount of 30% off new license SRP*. Under … Full post →
Following on from the AutoCAD 2011 productivity study I critiqued earlier, there is now an LT version. Do the same credibility problems apply to this study too? Yes, and then some.
In addition to the drawings and operations being deliberately hand-picked to demonstrate new features, no direct comparison is performed at all between the two releases on the same platforms. Every single quoted “productivity improvement” figure includes, free of charge, three years of hardware and operating system progress and a more upmarket graphics card.
If you read business “news” sources that just reprint press releases, such as this Yahoo! Finance one (thanks, Carol Bartz), you won’t see this mentioned. Instead, you will see deceptive statements like these:
David S. Cohn, an independent consultant
Er, no, in this context he’s not independent, he’s an Autodesk consultant. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Here in Australia, we’re in election mode, so I have even more reasons to avoid watching TV. On those occasions when I do watch it, I am often annoyed by what I see. This is not a novel observation, but one of the things that annoys me about many politicians is their habit of sidestepping questions when interviewed. It also annoys me when interviewers fail to follow up these non-answers and let them slide. Depending on the circumstances (e.g. limited timeframe, more important questions to ask, etc.), there may be valid reasons for journalists failing to chase after legitimate answers in a live interview situation. But I would much prefer to see a non-answering interviewee tied down and not allowed to wriggle free. Squirm, baby, squirm!
For on-line journalists and bloggers, there are few excuses for letting non-answers go unchallenged. There is virtually unlimited time, opportunity and column space in … Full post →
According to a recent independent study, AutoCAD® 2011 can help you work up to 44% faster with the latest productivity enhancements.
I have a couple of problems with that sentence. First, it’s not an independent study. It’s a study conducted by long-time respected CAD figure David Cohn, but it was specified and paid for by Autodesk:
This productivity study was performed at the request of Autodesk Inc., which funded this work.
That’s not exactly independent then, is it? Second, the study does not state that AutoCAD 2011 is responsible for a 44% improvement. That’s a figure that combines both the effects of AutoCAD 2011 (over AutoCAD 2008), plus the effects of using a newer, faster PC. Just stating that figure wthout such a disclaimer is misleading.
I know that some of you out there (unlike me) are pretty cynical about anything that Autodesk says on any subject. So when Autodesk makes a big thing about being environmentally responsible, such as its new Autodesk Sustainable Design Center site, it would be tempting to say “Yeah, right” and assume it’s just more spin to ignore.
That would be wrong. Yes, Autodesk is using its green credentials as a marketing tool. No, that doesn’t mean it’s all bovine excrement. Autodesk is genuine about this stuff. It’s being driven from the top, and it’s being driven hard.
I’m still looking for your questions about Autodesk Subscription and upgrade policies and pricing. No matter what you think about that, you have to admit that Autodesk’s current policies are less anti-customer than those inflicted on SolidWorks users.
Disallowing bug fixes for non-subscription customers is reprehensible, no matter what kind of spin is put on it. Not only that, it’s clueless. So you’re annoyed at Autodesk for whatever reason and are looking for alternative software from a company that doesn’t mistreat its customers? You know not to even bother looking at SolidWorks, don’t you?
In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the Cheshire Cat gradually disappears until nothing is left but its smile. The AutoCAD packaging has done the same thing over the years until now nothing is left but the 0s and 1s. In Release 13, one box was not enough to keep all the materials, but Autodesk gradually slimmed it down until in recent years your slab of upgrade or Subscription cash gets you nothing but a DVD in a case (with or without a pack of cards). However, you can go cap in hand to Autodesk and ask for a real manual of your choice, which will be shipped to you free of charge.
A few days ago, Subscription customers in 37 countries were all automatically opted in to a download-only upgrade mechanism for all Autodesk software, not just AutoCAD. Here are Autodesk’s stated reasons:
Convenience—It’s more convenient than installing … Full post →
As reported at Revit3D.com, next March will see a major change to the way Autodesk prices its upgrades. All upgrades will cost 50% of the full retail price rather than the much smaller percentage that is currently charged. If you upgrade yearly, that means the cost of doing so will be about 3.35 times greater than it is now. Clearly, Autodesk doesn’t want you doing that, and would much prefer you to be tied into the Subscription program, and is introducing some subtle encouragement to nudge you in the right direction.
Here is the rationale according to an Autodesk spokesperson:
I can confirm that after March 16, 2010, a streamlined upgrade pricing model will go into effect–all upgrades, cross-grades, and retroactive Subscription fees up to three releases back will be priced at 50 percent of a full license.
We are doing this to better match the needs and … Full post →