I think you all know I am dead set against the subscription only model. Recently things I am hearing and topics I am asked to give my opinions on are revealing to me what may well be thoughts and intent among VAR’s and Autodesk for the future. Remember with me here that if you paid full freight for Inventor Pro HSM in just under five years subscriptions would surpass your overall costs and then exceed them every year after. And you have to pay to play no matter what happens and how poorly the product is updated. I firmly believe that innovations will dwindle rapidly with any company that does not have to win with free market principles customer loyalty. Improvements will be just another cost added category software authors can choose to ignore since these new chattel model customers will have no choice but to pay irregardless. Permanent seats are the only way software authoring companies can be kept honest and when this is gone the future will be bleak for users trapped in this scenario.
I never gave thought to what you really can expect to get in the way of support with Autodesk VAR’s until recently when Hagerman refused to answer on the phone the first question I had to ask in five months. I find out that Autodesk has no set policies regarding the obligations of VAR’s to support users other than initial install and licensing problems. So of course users who pay the $1,500.00 yearly maintenance costs for Inventor Pro HSM or get stuck into subs never-never land at $3,700.00 per year perpetual costs have no support quantity or quality guaranteed with this. A rational answer to this would be to spell out exactly how many hours of support each customer would qualify for and I don’t mean just install and licensing I mean for the software itself. This has gone on for a long time and I doubt that Autodesk has never considered this and many other things regarding support. Autodesk has elected to set hardly any standards for VAR’s so there are hardly any there.
One of the touted advantages of the subs model given to me recently was that it would get rid of the VAR’s who are so lousy at support. It boggled my mind to hear this. It is like saying that the company who is responsible totally for this lack of VAR support standards will by charging a whole lot more to customers for less (sorry subs that cut you off from use ARE far less valauble to customers than permanent seats you can use forever) give you added value. Where do you start when you hear such nonsense except to shake your head in disbelief. I will certainly trust those who tell the Fox how to get into the Hen house to behave when they become the replacement Fox. Support apparently has not been a topic of importance to Autodesk via VAR standards and I highly doubt it will be a consideration when they are making more money from the new chattel model. What has and is being talked about is additional costs to subscribers.
Couched in flowery terms like “Now Vars will have to prove their value added worth” under this brave new world you have to wonder what is in the water being drunk. As you listen further though there is one common thread and it is laying the groundwork for buyers to expect to have to pay additional dollars to get actual support for the software itself beyond I guess install and licensing. The numbers I hear are $500.00 to $750.00 per year but the proponents have yet to spell out exactly what this covers. Just trust them I guess it will be good. Using this $500.00 yearly support cost number the permanent seat full-blown costs to break even with subs is now just four years and after that subs with questions answered will be at least 250% the cost of permanent seats each year and forever. The nebulous quality of the support since nothing is clearly spelled out leaves lots of wiggle room for VAR’s to do fee building with comments like that exceeds your support allotment or topics covered and here is your additional cost for that. And how can you argue against that since nothing is laid out in black and white for VAR obligations? I can see things like you want to use last years version being a cost extra for instance. Or next year maybe Win7 will be cost extra over Win10 even though Win7 professional is supported until 2020 by Microsoft. Think about the clever ways enterprising VAR’s can use support categories in an unregulated by Autodesk environment to run your costs up quickly. I imagine you will think of even more than I have.
I find it really hard sometimes to write positive things about the best milling CAM software out there in my experience which is HSM because of this subs only paradigm. I guess if I was a current CAMWorks customer I would consider HSM subs and hold my nose while buying into it. But I would also be looking constantly for a permanent seat far cheaper over time replacement for it since dollars I am forced to spend on expenses are after all my dollars that need to stay in my pocket as much as possible. As an aside here. Is it not sad how corporations are supposed to worry about incomes and outgo’s as being responsible stewards of their organizations but somehow we as business customers of theirs are not to operate by the same standards? That we are reactionary backwards looking technophobes because we do not want to embrace this new marketspeak babble from PR departments trying to put lipstick on this 250% cost increase pig from people who evidently have low regard for their customers financial well-being.
I still have hopes this subs model will fail and Autodesk will go back to subs and seats. I really like HSM and I hate to see the greed brought to the table by Autodesk happen.