Thursday, October 10th, 2013 Posted by Jim Thacker

Autodesk to discontinue software upgrades


An ‘old way to buy’: a slide from Autodesk’s presentation to investors last week shows the company’s intention to discontinue upgrades to its software early in 2015, leaving users to rely on subscription contracts.

Autodesk will discontinue the option to purchase upgrades to its software from 1 February 2015, leaving a subscription contract or re-purchasing outright as the only way for customers to stay up to date with new features.

Moving into the ‘subscriber universe’
The news was announced by SVP of industry strategy and marketing Andrew Anagnost during a presentation to investors last week. Discussing the need to move “non-subscribers into the subscriber universe”, Anagnost said:

“[At the minute] they [customers] buy maintenance and they buy upgrades. Well, you know what? In a little over a year … they’re not going to be able to buy upgrades any more.”

“This is a logical change. It’s something we’ve been conditioning the [user] base to for many years. We’ve been making it clear that maintenance subscription is the best way to stay current [with our] applications. So as of February 1, 2015, they won’t be able to purchase an upgrade any more.”

Financial pressure
As this graph from GraphicSpeak indicates, although Autodesk’s finances are, broadly speaking, healthy, maintenance contracts are its only source of revenue that is consistently increasing year-on-year.

It’s a fact that Autodesk clearly intends to capitalise on – and, as a publicly traded company, is under considerable pressure to do so – even if that comes at the expense of customer choice.

Listen to Autodesk’s Investor Day presentations
(Registration required. The relevant section starts at 00:29:30)