Are Autodesk forcing subscription on their users?

autodesk subscriptionAutodesk have recently been active in communicating about changes to their business model and licensing options.

We have been monitoring publicly available information about their plans from official sources, and have taken a number of their recently posted public statements to draw our own conclusions.

“We’re well positioned for the next phase of the transition where we’ll offer our maintenance customers an easy and cost effective path to move to product subscription.” — Andrew Anagnost, Autodesk co-CEO and chief marketing officer

The transition from Autodesk’s Maintenance Subscription licenses to their Product Subscription plans may appear cost effective with promotional offers, but we believe customers will pay significantly more in the long run by moving over to Autodesk’s Product Subscription model.

 “….. with single- or multi-user access of select products when they trade-in qualifying (“legacy”) serial numbers and all associated seats of R14 (release year 1998) through 2016 perpetual licenses and/or 2017 perpetual licenses not on an active maintenance plan […] As part of the terms and conditions of this offer, the customer agrees to trade-in the eligible perpetual license serial number(s) and no longer use any seats associated with that serial number(s).”

We take from the above statement that Autodesk intends to remove the sale and support of perpetual licences to make room for their subscription offering. We believe that this campaign demonstrates Autodesk’s aggressive business practice by forcing clients down a route that is perhaps not best suited to them.

“….we will continue to offer customers the choice of renewing their maintenance plan on an annual basis, effective February 20, 2017, multi-year maintenance plan renewals will no longer be offered. In addition, because managing two business models (subscription and maintenance plans) is quite costly, in order to continue supporting maintenance plans, beginning May 7, 2017, maintenance plan renewal prices will increase by 5% in 2017, 10% in 2018, and 20% in 2019.”

Autodesk’s announcement about a multi-year exponential price increase to their maintenance subscription plan prices is a clear sign that they intend to force their maintenance customers from continuing with their maintenance subscriptions.

To help put things into context for our prospects and customers, in August 2016 we created a blog article: Why not have a fixed term ARCHICAD licence?

The purpose of the article was to demonstrate the benefits of investing in perpetual software licences over a fixed term period, rather than opting for the long term costs associated with a Product Subscription Plans. Indeed in the last six months we have seen a large increase in the number of customers taking up the monthly fixed term plan, including software only options.