Negative Commentary on the Alibre $99 Offer

I have been reading some negative commentary about Alibre’s $99 offer. Although I am pretty sure Alibre expected some of it, I don’t think they are quite happy with the tone and quantum. One commenter called the offer “a desperate attempt by a dying company who can’t compete with the real stuff out there.” Pretty harsh, I must say.

Personally, I believe most of the negative commentary is stemming out of misinformation. And Alibre is partly to blame for that because they did not specify an expiry date for the offer, although they did say that it was a limited time offer. Somehow almost everyone assumed that the $99 is the new permanent price. I see that Max Freeman, Alibre’s VP of Marketing, is working overtime trying to clarify things at various blogs, including mine.

Secondly, almost everyone assumed that Alibre wants the mid range MCAD users to switch to Alibre Design Standard. I think Paul Grayson was quite clear in his blog post that Alibre is targeting the new licenses segment, not existing MCAD users.

Thirdly, there is an ocean full of people using 2D CAD. $99 for a 3D CAD system is precisely what will interest them. I sincerely hope that many 2D CAD users take Alibre Design Standard for a test drive, now that they can afford to buy it. I decided to drop the prices of our Alibre Design add-ons for precisely these people. One of the first things a 2D CAD user would want to know is how he would transfer his CAD data between Alibre Design and his 2D CAD system. SYCODE’s DWG/DXF import and export add-ons for Alibre transfer Alibre Design 3D solids in and out of DWG and DXF files. So assuming that this user finds the $99 offer a good bargain, I don’t think he would fancy paying $195 x 2 to transfer his models between Alibre Design and his 2D CAD system. As an Alibre Solution Partner, SYCODE is trying to do its bit to help Alibre get some life back into this pathetic economic scenario. I think that it is unfortunate that I received an email today from someone advising me not to “stoop down to Alibre’s level“.

I find it odd that when larger CAD vendors give away software for free to people laid off in these troubled times (Autodesk Assistance Program and SolidWorks Engineering Stimulus Package) it is considered noble. But when a smaller company like Alibre tries something bold and new to stimulate the market, they are publicly flogged.