• Bentley Responds to Autodesk

    You Have a Choice

The Autodesk License Upgrade Program

Earlier this summer, Autodesk issued a response to our announcement of our Autodesk License Upgrade program.  We’d like to now respond to each of Autodesk’s claims.
Claim #1

Autodesk Claim #1 – No Autodesk customer ever loses the right to use the perpetual software license you’ve purchased; it is “evergreen.” And if you’re on a software maintenance plan, you can continue to receive all of the benefits of software updates and technical support for as long as you’d like.

We’ve shared key dates well ahead of time to give customers time needed to adjust, but that does not mean we’re taking away options. Rather than taking our word for it, here’s what one respected industry watcher had to say: “I really just wanted to make it 100% clear: if you have a perpetual license and continue to pay maintenance, NOTHING CHANGES on February/August 1,2016 unless you want it to.” 

Bentley Response: Two points here — 1) if you can no longer upgrade a product, then it loses value. Think of it this way, if one buys a car which has no trade-in value, then the car itself loses value compared to a similar car that retains its trade-in value. Yes, the car still runs (like the perpetual software license), but it has lost value. And the organization that owns it has lost equity in its asset.  2) If you are on an Autodesk maintenance plan, yes, you can get “software updates” and technical support, but there are limitations.

First, any license that is not currently on a maintenance plan cannot be put on a maintenance plan. If a license lapses, that right is no longer available. Second, it is common for prior versions of software to be required for certain projects, but the user’s ability to use prior versions or update prior versions has been discontinued for Autodesk’s “perpetual” licenses. And third, users of a standalone Autodesk “perpetual” license may no longer convert these licenses to shared network licenses.

Autodesk’s business model, well-articulated publicly, is to move new buyers to subscriptions rather than perpetual licenses, and to move owners of its installed base from perpetual licenses to subscriptions. These changes in its perpetual licensing policies are the first step in that process.

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Claim #2

Autodesk Claim #2 – Our customers have a choice. When you subscribe to Autodesk software, you have flexible terms (monthly, quarterly, annually), and multiple access points (single user, multi-user and shared). Now Autodesk customers can get the software they need for a year or a month, in ways that are more convenient and better for their business. Customers can buy and use it for as long as they want and can match their subscription type with the demands of their workforce. When the workforce expands, they can ramp up, or in quieter periods, they can scale it back.  In short, subscribing gives you flexibility and predictability.

When it comes to value, lower upfront costs make our software more accessible and allow you to try more tools without the risk of a large upfront expenditure. Plus, you only pay when you need it. This is a big deal. Some of our customers prefer this cost is considered an operating expense, allowing you to bill the cost of the software back to the client or project. And if you subscribe for a longer, multi-year term, you lock-in your rate. Combine that with flexibility in the length of contracts and you may find that you’re actually paying less.

Bentley Response:  As of August 1, 2016, Autodesk’s customers no longer have a choice to buy a perpetual license. Bentley’s users have benefited from subscriptions for well over a decade, including “pay only for usage” options.  None of these “innovations” are new to Bentley users.  But, Bentley users also have a greater freedom to choose the option that best fits their business needs. They have the option to purchase true perpetual licenses!

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Claim #3

Autodesk Claim #3 – Software as a service is essential for technological evolution. It allows for continual and consistent innovation and support. The software will get better, faster and more seamless in the way you use it. The experience is customized to you or your organization, and provides a simplified way to access and deploy software, manage your users and collaborate on projects. With this new way of delivering software, everyone will always have the latest, most up-to-date Autodesk tools available.

It’s not just Autodesk saying this; the entire software industry is moving in this direction. Frankly, design and engineering software has been a bit slow to make this change. But the benefits for end-users are clear, and it’s just a matter of time before all vendors have similar ways of buying.

Bentley Response:  We have no disagreement as to the potential advantages to users of software “as a service.” In fact, while our own users have increasingly elected to choose license subscription offerings over the years, we’ve been well able to extend our “software at your service” benefits across all licensing models, including perpetual licenses. Therefore, the argument that technological innovation and efficient software delivery is directly dependent on a commercial licensing model is disproven by our own ongoing experience.

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Claim #4

Autodesk Claim #4 – Our recent earnings results validate our move to an all subscription-based model and readiness of the market and our customer base. More customers are getting on board every day. In Q1 of this year, they were up 132,000 to 2.71 million.

What does this mean?  It means that millions of you are already seeing the benefits of shifting to subscription and are making that choice voluntarily.

Bentley Response:  Autodesk users did not have the choice to continue to purchase perpetual licenses. And with Autodesk’s very recently announced inducement for users to relinquish “perpetual” licenses for a temporary discount on subscriptions, it is clear that Autodesk will do everything it can to make this “choice” compulsory.

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