I am a long time AutoCAD user and started using Revit intensively in last few years. I always love their cool products, so it’s kind of heartbreaking to see how their service has become. It all started with the subscription plan.
Autodesk stopped selling perpetual licenses and sell their product for a term based. Obviously, there is a market for a short-term based license. But it’s supposed to be an alternative. Not the only way to purchase Autodesk license.
The licensing itself has a significant change, it’s now a named user license. Legally, no one may borrow your computer and use the Autodesk product that is assigned to you. Technically, assigning the licenses is troublesome and problematic. I lost count of how many times I failed to assign a license to a user smoothly. Mostly it needs several attempts and some time.
And the worst is: Autodesk products now check the license regularly to Autodesk server. It should be fine. Unless now it becomes regular the server thinks you don’t have a license. Even if you do have an active subscription. I count at least four times it happened.
The most noticeable is when Andrew Anagnost sent emails to all subscription customers after the issue after AutoCAD 2019 was released. This email was sent on 28 March 2018.
Andrew also apologized and promised it won’t happen again on his Twitter account.
Again, sorry it happened and it won’t happen again. Glad the email got read!
— Andrew Anagnost (@andrew_anagnost) March 28, 2018
However, it took less than a month until the issue happened again. Steve covered it in his blog post here. This time, not only the license is accessible, the contract manager will have to reassign the license to their users.
I have received an update, this was a processing error on our end—all systems are now operating as they should. At this point the Contract Manager will have to re-assign products to users in the Autodesk Account. ^NL
— AutodeskHelp (@AutodeskHelp) April 20, 2018
Imagine if they have many different products and dozens of users. That is a very bad day for the contract manager.
Autodesk is in trouble
The subscription plan itself made the customers unhappy. Now while Autodesk is trying to convince the customers that subscription plan is much better than perpetual license, this issue happened. Remember: it never happens with a perpetual license.
People start to lose their trust to Autodesk. Imagine how much time they lost not able to use the software, how much work they put to solve the issue. The number of the customers who are looking for an alternative is increasing. If it becomes expensive, many big companies are fine with it. But not reliable?
So yes, Autodesk is in trouble. People are losing trust to Autodesk.
I need help is seeing that my recent purchase of AutoCad 2007 from a retiring Architect in Abilene, Texas a while back …. How do I receive data and help with my cad software and design skills? He provided my with original disk, serial #, etc…. HSHoop
Last summer I made the transition — at AutoDesk’s urging and sweetened by what was sold as a one-time price break — from a maintenance/perpetual plan to subscription for AutoCAD & Revit. After that, thanks to some glitch in the AutoDesk server, both programs crashed on opening with a message about invalid license. I had to resurrect my old laptop with an old version of AutoCAD and enlist a former colleague to open and ‘save back’ to older versions of AutoCAD just so I could limp along with a heavy work load while I spent three weeks trying to track down a solution to the problem. There is no phone number on the AutoDesk website, and it takes 1-2 days to get a response, usually terse, to an error report or email. Eventually one of their tech support people was able to sort out the problem (an incompatibility issue between the then-current Windows and autodesk license server); he mentioned that he’d seen that problem before, although AutoDesk had not yet issued a technical bulletin addressing the problem, so I imagine I was not the only user who was hung up.
The only other time I’ve heard from anyone at AutoDesk was a recent phone call from a sales rep reminding me it was time to renew my subscription…
No need to renew!! I’ve made the transition to Graphisoft ArchiCAD, and am never going back. I have a sales rep who checks in regularly, I’ve met the local trainer and have had both one-on-one and group on-line training sessions. When I posted a question on the user group site I not only received answers there, the next day I had a call from my sales rep followed by an email and call from tech support. I haven’t even mentioned the performance and usability of the program itself, specifically designed for architects, but I’d be delighted with ArchiCAD even if I hadn’t been blown away by the wonderful customer service!
Sorry to be so long-winded — obviously this topic has touched a nerve. I would urge fellow architects to consider alternatives to AutoDesk.
After delaying the move to subscription, we finally made the plunge this year. All of Autodesk’s promise of the subscription collections being better is completely within their control as they could have offered the same thing to maintenance owners. Sadly, this has become a way to extort more money from its clients/victims. Adobe is doing the same thing as are other software companies. We are assets on a balance sheet to them and they will only do the minimum of what it takes to retain us. We have three years until our price lock-in expires; I will be researching options and, if Autodesk’s pricing model hasn’t improved by then, we will consider migrating to an alternative.
Actually Adobe is doing a much better job and their subscription is more realistic. Autodesk is way over charging for their products. Its a shame because if they made it like Adobe’s they would have millions of more users and Billions of more in revenue.
I solved this problem – LEGALLY – and permanently, about 4 years ago, and haven’t looked back. Other than a brief note (which my clients can disable) I DEFY you to tell my work isn’t GENUINE AutoCAD.
For years Autodesk has treated it’s customers with contempt, both subtle and overt.. This latest looks like more of the same. If I ran IT security I would be looking at sabotage by mistreated employees. As a customer; vote with your wallet. It’s really a shame to see a good company ruined by Master Business Assassins. (MBA)
Bentley has been trying to take advantage of this recently. As a user of Bentley add-on products running on top of AutoCAD, they kept emailing subscribers – such as ourselves – that their product never expires and we always own the software even if the subscription expires. Bentley has been in with large users such as states, provinces, municipalities and associated agencies for a long time. So I can see why Bentley is trying to convince subscription users from jumping ship. Secondly, the Autodesk subscription model works well for large organizations where the level of users fluctuates based on business cycles. A large architectural firm may have 300 modelers and detailers one year and then go down to only 30 core members the next based on how the economy is doing – subscription works well here. The problem is, overwhelmingly the largest number of users are single user to up to between 5 and 10 user firms that have a steady workflow – this is where they will have problems. The bundled suites that we purchased and upgraded to and kept current before subscription based pricing has software that is no longer bundled with the subscription based collections – this is a huge problem for smaller firms – uncertainty! Autodesk, in my opinion, should have a model that combines both subscription based licensing with purchased perpetual licenses so that a firm could own a certain number of perpetual licenses and buy into a subscription for short term or peak period durations (as is the case with large firms) – a win-win for everyone.
Bentley licensing itself is also as bad as Autodesk. If only Bentley offers the licensing like they did before 2005, they would get Autodesk customers easily.
Subscriptions are f’in stupid. And anything that requires active internet connection to be connected to “clouds” is irritating as hell.
I live/work on an island with pathcy internet during the best of times and with hurricanes there is always risk of losing internet for weeks at a time.
The direction that computer technology is evolving towards if very depressing. Instead of a device once freed one up to be more productive, it appears that computer technology/CAD drafting is evolving into shackles that are turning professional architects & engineers into slaves & serfs feeding the big tech companies like AutoDesk.
A return to the Mayline & lead-holders is looking more appealing with each passing development in tech.
Brian – I completely AGREE with your “Cloud” assessment. I do PROPRIETARY work for my clients, and I _ASSURE_YOU_ I have VERY little ( ;=) ! ) interest in my clients’ designs ending up in China. ALL the BEST to you and yours – from Texas, Chuck
Demise of a great company always begins with greed.