Autodesk is drawing a line in the sand, a definitive cutoff for the availability of perpetual desktop licenses.
“New commercial seats of most standalone desktop software products will be available only by Desktop Subscription beginning February 1, 2016,” the company announced today. The move is part of is transition to a subscription-only model.
Andrea Anagnost, sr. VP and industry strategist for Autodesk, remarked, “The move to cloud, mobile, and social platforms for software companies is as profound as the move from mainframe to desktop computers. If we want to be relevant to our customers in the new world, we have to be moving toward a pure cloud-based, subscription-based company.” He went so far as to declare, “All successful software companies in the future will be cloud companies.”
Autodesk, best known for its flagship design and drafting software AutoCAD, once used perpetual desktop licenses as the standard approach for its design, engineering, and animation software titles. But in 2009, Autodesk began experimenting with running cloud-hosted CAD program remotely from thin clients and browsers.
Project Twitch, a technology preview at the time, let you remotely run Autodesk Inventor, AutoCAD, and Autodesk Revit Architecture from a thin client, without installing the software locally. (Read “AU 2009: Cloudy with a Chance of Twitch,” December 2009.)
In early 2012, Autodesk launched its PLM offerings under the PLM 360 brand, delivering them as SaaS (software as a service) subscriptions. In late 2013, Autodesk introduced new licensing models, such as monthly rental option, for some of its titles. These preceding moves prepare the company for what it ultimately wants to implement — cloud-hosted software offerings, delivered as on-demand subscriptions.