Desktop Subscription Replacing Perpetual Licensing

Jason Porter

All, perpetual licensing, Autodesk Licensing, desktop subscription, Press Release 0 Comment

If you are currently running a software, such as AutoCAD, but not within a suite you may have already received an e-mail similar to this from Autodesk:

So what does this mean and why are you receiving this?
Autodesk is changing how it will be selling licenses.  However, these changes will not affect any of the design or creation suites.  For example, your Infrastructure Design Suite or Building Design Suite licenses are not affected.
For many individual desktop software products, Autodesk will end the sale of new perpetual licenses after January 31, 2016. Customers who have a perpetual license for an individual product, or who purchase a perpetual license before Jan 31, 2016, will be able to continue to use that license. Customers who have a perpetual license with Maintenance Subscription will receive software updates and corresponding benefits for as long as the subscription remains active.
So, after January 31, 2016, the following products will no longer be available as perpetual licenses:
Autodesk® 3ds Max® Autodesk® AutoCAD® Revit LT™ Suite Autodesk® Motion Builder®
Autodesk® 3ds Max® with Softimage® Autodesk® AutoCAD® Utility Design Autodesk® Mudbox®
Autodesk® AutoCAD® Autodesk® AutoCAD® Civil 3D® Autodesk® Navisworks® Simulate
Autodesk® AutoCAD® for Mac® Autodesk® Fabrication CADmep™ Autodesk® Navisworks® Manage
Autodesk® AutoCAD® Architecture Autodesk® Fabrication CAMduct™ Autodesk® Point Layout
Autodesk® AutoCAD® Inventor LT™ Suite Autodesk® Fabrication ESTmep™ Autodesk® Revit® Architecture
Autodesk® AutoCAD LT® HSMWorks Premium Autodesk® Revit LT™
Autodesk® AutoCAD LT® for Mac® HSMWorks Professional Autodesk® Revit MEP
Autodesk® AutoCAD LT® Civil Suite Autodesk® Inventor HSM™ Autodesk® Revit® Structure
Autodesk® AutoCAD® Electrical Autodesk® Inventor HSM™ Pro Autodesk® River and Flood Analysis
Autodesk® AutoCAD® Map 3D Autodesk® Inventor® Autodesk® Showcase®
Autodesk® AutoCAD® Mechanical Autodesk® Inventor LT™ Autodesk® Structural Bridge Design
Autodesk® AutoCAD® MEP Autodesk® Inventor® Professional Autodesk® Vehicle Tracking
Autodesk® AutoCAD® P&ID
Autodesk® AutoCAD® Plant 3D
Autodesk® AutoCAD® Raster Design Autodesk® Maya® with Softimage®

In addition, Autodesk will not permit adding Network Activation to any of the above products after January 31, 2016 whether they are on subscription or not.  If there is any possibility that adding network activation to your standalone licenses will benefit your operations going forward, then please make this purchase before January 31, 2016.
However, the above licenses will be available as “Desktop Subscription” licenses.  These are term-based (or rental) licenses that can be purchased on a monthly, quarterly, annual or multi-year basis.   They are currently available for single named users (similar to the standalone licenses).  Autodesk intends to make Network Desktop Subscription licenses available after January 31, 2016.
Another consideration is that Desktop Subscription licenses cannot be placed on the same subscription contract as perpetual licenses.  So, a separate subscription contract will be required.  But, Autodesk will allow clients to sync the subscription renewal dates for both perpetual and Desktop Subscription licenses.
When the Network Versions of Desktop Subscription licenses become available, Autodesk indicated that these network licenses can be added to a Network License File that now contains network perpetual licenses.
So, when should clients consider purchasing Desktop Subscription licenses?  Desktop Subscription is ideally suited for the following situations:

  • Whenever additional licenses are needed to support a short-term project.
  • When it’s important to minimize the initial cost of new licenses, e.g., a company just getting started.

At what point are Desktop Subscription licenses more expensive than perpetual licenses?  To answer that question, let’s look at a couple of ‘break-even’ calculations.  To make these calculations, we need to compare the initial cost of a perpetual license plus its Annual Maintenance Subscription to the cost of Desktop Subscription.  For these examples, we will only compare standalone licenses since the network versions of Desktop Subscription are not yet available.

For AutoCAD, the break-even calculation is:
$4,195 initial cost + $545/year Annual Subscription x (Y) = $1,680/year Desktop Subscription x (Y)
Solving for Y yields a break-even of 3.7 years.  This means it makes economic sense to purchase a perpetual license now if you intend to use if for more than 3.7 years.

For Civil 3D, the break-even calculation is:
$6,285 initial cost + $1,025/year Annual Subscription x (Y) = $2,520/year Desktop Subscription x (Y)
Solving for Y yields a break-even of 4.6 years.  This means it makes economic sense to purchase a perpetual license now if you intend to use if for more than 4.6 years.

The above are just two examples but the same formula can be applied to the rest of the products to calcualate break-even cost.

What steps should you take now?  We recommend that you take a serious look at your business and operations needs over the next 2 or 3 years and how this might affect your Autodesk licenses.  Then, consider implementing one or more of the following steps before January 31, 2016:

  • Purchase additional perpetual licenses of your individual products.
  • Cross-grade your individual products to a Design Suite.
  • Add network activation to your standalone products.

We realize that this is a significant change to the way Autodesk has done business in the past.  Therefore, do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have.  We look forward to hearing from you.