How To Piss Off a Paying Customer?

A while ago I wrote a piece on this blog titled “Autodesk’s New Upgrade Pricing Policy” describing Autodesk’s new pricing policy to take effect in less than two weeks. According to this new policy customers not on subscription would now have to pay half the price of a new seat of AutoCAD if they wanted to upgrade to the latest version. As I explained in my post I believe this new policy has the potential of adding to Autodesk’s problems mainly due to the timing.

Today a visibly pissed off Autodesk customer left a comment to that post. You may want to read the comment to know exactly why. He sent an email to his reseller to be forwarded to Autodesk. He sent me a copy as well. Quite an interesting one, I must say. I would list it here but the language is quite flowery, even by my standards. No prizes for guessing in which bin that email ended up, if at all it did reach Autodesk.

There is one sentence in the email that I do want to list here though:

The year is 2010 and even THAT version I have is already outdated with NO tech support or file updates allowed.

This is something I brought up in my interview with Shaun Murphy at SolidWorks World 2010 when I asked him about his company’s policy of not providing non-subscription customers access to service packs. As a software developer myself I am ashamed. I believe PTC does the same. I am not sure about Siemens PLM and Dassault Systemes.

[Edit: I apologize. I was mistaken about the availability of Autodesk service packs. See the update at the bottom of this post]

This is absolutely ridiculous. How can a software vendor legally be allowed to sell a non-subscription license and then deny the licensee access to service packs? The big CAD vendors are hiding behind the excuse that they add new functionality in service packs. That’s their bloody problem. Service packs, service releases or whatever you want to call them are meant to fix bugs, not add new features. New features are added in new major or minor versions. Have a 2010.1 version for all I care.

This is like selling a product and offering a year’s warranty only if the customer pays extra for an annual maintenance contract. I am badly in need of someone to explain to me how this is even legal.


Brian Sather from Autodesk (@bsather) tweeted me this link to download AutoCAD service packs. Does anyone know of a link to download SolidWorks service packs?