CAD Manager's Newsletter (#351)

9 Sep, 2015 By: Robert Green

Autodesk VP Explains Software Licensing Policy Changes

To gain more insight into Autodesk's switch to rental-based licensing, we sat down with Vice-President Andrew Anagnost.

In the previous edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I provided some planning advice for Autodesk customers who must deal with the company's new policy that will end the sale of perpetual software licenses in favor of rental-based licensing starting in January 2016.

Not long after that issue was published, I was contacted by Autodesk's public relations department and was granted an opportunity to interview the Senior Vice-President of Industry, Strategy, and Marketing, Andrew Anagnost. I was given some information about the new licensing policies and was promised I could ask all the questions I wanted, so I jumped at the chance. I found Mr. Anagnost to be forthright and realistic, and I hope you find the conversation as valuable for your software planning as I have.

New Policies on Suite Products

Autodesk announced earlier this year that it intended to suspend sales of single-product perpetual licenses (such as AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT) in January 2016, followed by the perpetual license sales of its design-based suites (which are essentially product bundles) in January 2017. The company released a new policy announcement on September 3, however, that brings the timeline forward and will end the sale of perpetual suite licenses on July 31, 2016 — a full six months sooner than previously scheduled.

My conversation with Mr. Anagnost started with a brief overview of the policy changes, including a timeline of key milestones and a graphic contrasting Autodesk's views of perpetual vs. rental licensing models (see below).

Robert Green: So the suite-based perpetual licenses will go away sooner than expected? Why is that?

Andrew Anagnost: This is a big change for how Autodesk does business, and we expect things to be bumpy as the change occurs. That is a big reason why we've elected to move up the cutoff date for perpetual suite licenses — to complete the transition and move forward.

RG: Can you clarify what "bumpy" means?

AA: We know this is a new way to license software for many of our customers, so we will have to explain it. We fully understand that it will take a while to prove the concept to our long-time customers.

RG: I've heard you refer to the perpetual vs. rental software question as "a tale of two customers." Why is that? Read more »

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox

Updated Autodesk Software Costs Calculator

You can use this sample spreadsheet to calculate three- and five-year scenarios for rent vs. buy software decisions as well as crossgrades (from single products to suite based products). While this spreadsheet is intended to help analyze software strategies for Autodesk products in 2016, based on the new policy announcements from Autodesk, you can use it for other software vendors as well.

You can download the spreadsheet from my website using this link:

Perpetual vs. Rental Software Calculator

To compute more scenarios, just input more values for other software titles as required.

Do you have a helpful tip, recommendation, or question for the CAD Manager's Newsletter? Send it to me at If I use your tip in the newsletter, you'll receive a Cadalyst prize!

:: Resources

NVIDIA Streams Recordings of SIGGRAPH 2015 Presentations
NVIDIA has published online videos of discussions and demonstrations about visual computing topics that were presented by NVIDIA engineers at SIGGRAPH 2015 earlier this month. The videos, called the Best of GTC Talks and the Best of GTC Theater, are available for streaming on the company's website.

:: Events

Autodesk University 2015
December 1–3, 2015
Las Vegas, Nevada
Autodesk University is the U.S. conference for users of Autodesk software in a range of professions and industries that include design, engineering, construction, manufacturing, and digital arts. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to

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Laser scanners and point cloud–processing software help the United States Air Force Academy to better understand its Cadet Chapel and make a plan for its rehabilitation. Read more »

Create Cross-Referenced Hyperlinks in AutoCAD Electrical
IMAGINiT Tricks Tutorial: Learn how to create PDF files with cross-referenced hyperlinks. Read more »

Video Tip: Sketch Circles and Arcs in SolidWorks 2015
Learn about two types of circles and three types of arcs you can draw with SolidWorks sketch tools. Watch the video »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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