Autodesk switch to subscription model will likely anger many SMB drafting, design, and engineering firms


Many AutoCAD users are not yet aware that Autodesk is switching to a subscription model starting February of 2015. You will still be able to buy a new perpetual license, but not an upgrade version of the latest software release. For that you will need a subscription. While larger companies may like the ‘budget predictability’ of a software subscription vs. a single, large capital expense, many smaller, independent firms that only upgrade their software every 3 to 5 years now face a major, ‘forced’ annual expense. Sure, you can ‘rent’ the software for a short term project, but for most firms that execute projects year-round and have add-ons and customizations, it just isn’t practical. As expected, the monthly rates are easy to digest, but still cost substantially more over time than buying the software outright.

The big winner in this transition is of course Autodesk. By switching to a subscription model it expects an increase in average annual value per customer of about 30%. Adding 121,000 subscriptions in the third quarter, it already raised its revenue growth forecast from 7~9% to 9~10% percent for the year ending Jan. 31. For the 2.5+ million Autodesk users that are still on perpetual licenses, the choice becomes accepting the ‘forced’ migration to a subscription model or switching to an alternative platform.

From the available choices, the one that truly stands out is BricsCAD. Bricsys is a fast growing CAD company with a simple value proposition: Offer robust functionality, great API support, benchmark support resources, very competitive pricing -starting from $520- and flexible licensing options. BricsCAD was developed over a twelve year period by long time CAD/CAE industry experts to be the better, more affordable alternative. The product was praised by renowned CAD editor and industry authority Ralph Grabowski in his book “BricsCAD for AutoCAD Users”.

Over the last three years, BricsCAD has received critical acclaim for its advanced functionality, compatibility, native 2D/3D DWG support, and a better user experience with the QUAD cursor. More and more engineers and designers are moving to BricsCAD because of its broad API support and its third party applications that have grown beyond 900, from AEC, civil, GIS and surveying, HVAC, landscape, structural, and packaging design to highly specialized vertical applications. To make it even more attractive BricsCAD operates in the same way on Windows, Linux, and Mac, a benefit not lost on the creative minds that favor the Apple Mac environment.

Ironically, at $520 for a perpetual license, the entry level BricsCAD V15 Classic now costs less than a three months rental of AutoCAD 2015 with basic support. For a user that is accustomed to only upgrading every three years, this represents a savings of a whopping $4,520 and the freedom to wait even longer should new functionality in upcoming upgrades be of no interest to the user. Another reason why BricsCAD becomes a real choice. To help with the decision, Bricsys offers a risk-free 30 day trial of its BricsCAD software. For more information on BricsCAD go to

Serge Jonnaert, CAD REBEL
December 4, 2014 – San Clemente, CA