Alibre Cuts 3D CAD Price to $99; Cadalyst Calls on Vendors to Clarify Overall Software Costs

16 Aug, 2009 By: Nancy Spurling Johnson

Where are the best CAD deals now, and what does the future hold for those dropping maintenance contracts?

Last week, Alibre announced it is temporarily dropping the price of Alibre Design Standard 3D CAD software from $999 to $99. (The company will share the offer details if you share your e-mail address.) The deal applies to the full version of the product, no strings attached and no limits -- except the limited duration of the offer.

That duration remains something of a mystery, and Alibre seems to be keeping its options open. In an e-mail to Cadalyst, Alibre marketing manager Michael Hayden wrote that Alibre was reducing the price "for the remainder of the version 11.2 lifecycle." In the Alibre Design User Groups forum, Alibre marketing vice-president Max Freeman commented on August 11 that the offer "will not run longer than v12 – it may not run longer than the next 20 days.” And on the blog of software reseller Novedge, Alibre CEO Paul Grayson said, "We originally planned for this to be a very short-term offer. … We are considering extending it by a week or two to give people who respond quickly the opportunity to take advantage of it."

Alibre's bold move has generated a lot of buzz in the CAD community, particularly among bloggers, just as the company intended.

However, we all know price is but one consideration in a CAD software purchase, and price is usually no indication of overall cost of ownership. At the same time, we're seeing that while the market conditions are presenting some good software deals for those who have money to spend, on the flip side the down economy is causing concern about the downstream costs of lapsed software licenses and subscriptions for those who currently are dropping staff and maintenance contracts. Will vendors modify current policies in the interest of their customers?

Call to CAD Vendors
This prompts us to look at the bigger picture and ask, How is the down economy affecting the price of CAD software in general and the downstream cost of maintenance? We're issuing a call to all CAD software developers to submit some straight-forward answers about their CAD products and pricing to help CAD consumers see where the deals are now as well as what the future holds regarding maintenance costs.

  • Describe the CAD software's primary capabilities and features (75 words or less).>
  • What is the best price of this product currently (base price and with subscription) and where is this pricing available? Provide specific contact information/URL for offer.
  • If the license of this product expires, what will be the cost to restore that license?
  • If a subscription for this product lapses, what will be the cost to reinstate the subscription?
  • Describe any flexibility available in standard policies regarding reinstatement of lapsed licenses and subscriptions.

We'll publish the results in an article on or before August 31.

This overview is limited to software that is primarily a computer-aided design tool. However, vendors that offer more than one CAD product or version are invited to submit information for any or all products. Marketing/promotional verbiage will be omitted by editors in favor of objective, practical details.

E-mail feedback by Friday, August 21, to editor Nancy Johnson at

About the Author: Nancy Spurling Johnson

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