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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Revit LT? Really Autodesk, what's next, horseless carriages?

As usual, I'm perplexed with Autodesk's business model. Last year,
they gave away free upgrades from Revit Suites to Building Design
Suite Premium. Also, one of their 20% off promotions went over so well
that they cut it short 3 months because it killed profits and
resellers and Autodesk lost money. Maybe that's why Jay Bhatt left. It
got worse when customers on 3 year subscription contracts didn't have
to pay the subscription difference because of a glitch in the backed
system. Then they try to convince resellers to promote the very
promotions that are killing the sales channel. It's like having to
train the outsourced company on how to do the job that will take away
your job.

It's ironic that the same company that lives in fear of ever losing
any of their millions of AutoCAD users, continues to mess things up
for their emerging technologies. Contractors who had no problem buying
a license of Revit Arch Suite, Revit MEP Suite and a copy of
Navisworks, now get that whole package for $11495 instead of paying
$22000. My only savior in keeping my old business alive was
contractors and poof, there went that lifeline.

You can upgrade AutoCAD 2012 to Building Design Suite Premium for
$1495, but upgrading to Revit Arch Suite is $2395. A no brainier
choice, but subscription is $975 instead of $725. It pays for itself,
but no one wants to pay for subscription so they stick with their $450
AutoCAD subscription.

On or about March 15th, the 2009 versions get retired so plan on
paying a lot more to upgrade in the future. Instead of 'Legacy' those
4 year and older licenses are now called 'Get Current'. It's more like
'Get a Clue' since its a lot more to upgrade every 2 to 5 years then
pay annual subscription fees.

Then Autodesk will give discounts to those who haven't upgraded in
years and piss off those who pay every year. None of it makes sense.
I've had Autodesk employees tell me how strategic Autodesk is with
their planning, but the proof is in the 'lets try this promotion'
which still compels no one to upgrade. Autodesk, you are the problem.
Your promotions aren't compelling. No one is switching or upgrading
until they're forced to by clients.

So, will Revit LT tip the scale and finally get AutoCAD users to
switch? Probably not. All it will do is cannibalize full Revit
package sales for those who do markups or particular tasks with Revit.
It's just another nail in the coffin of resellers who will now have
even lower profit margins to stay in business. It also dilutes the
value and morale of those who have already invested in Revit over the
past 12 years.

I bet if Autodesk gave away Revit for free, AutoCAD using architecture
firms still wouldn't switch. Who has the time to learn the program,
workflow and processes of a new platform so different from what they
know that the fear of running into problems outweighs the potential

Autodesk, look at Apple. See how they have fanatics, with recent
converts like myself, that love how they're always on the cutting edge
and every generation of their products raises the bar. For all of
their competitors. Does Apple care that the iPad ate into MacBook
laptop profits? No! Then the MacBook Air ate into iPad profits. So
what? Watch their new iCloud commercial. See how it seamlessly ties
all of your data together on whatever iDevice you're using. The next
Mac OS will be more iPad like. Those 500,000 apps will now be unusable
on a Mac and billions more apps will be downloaded.

Autodesk can't keep living in the technology past of AutoCAD and
expect that the lemmings will run out and buy Revit or Revit LT.
You've told them AutoCAD is never going away so why bother changing.
It would be like IBM still selling typewriters. Autodesk will just
force resellers to push the design suites on you as they lower the
profit margin on AutoCAD sales. They'll probably raise AutoCAD
subscription prices and lower Revit subscriptions and make it even

If Autodesk gave away all of their more than 80 products to you, but
you had to pay $500 a year in subscription, would you go for that? 9
million x $500 would push ADSK to 4.5 billon a year, more than double
what they do now. Push all of their software online, reducing piracy
and you end up with 15 million users and 7.5 billion a year in sales.
Of course, that wipes out the reseller channel and say goodbye to
support and implementation, but at least the stockholders will be

Why hasn't BIM tipped yet? What's holding back the masses? Fear?
Ignorance? Lack of business? Part of me is thrilled my local
competitors aren't using Revit or Navisworks. It just means more
business for us as more owners require not only BIM, but a BIM resume.
The world has already tipped to Mac OS from Windows. Yes, many of you
will call me out on this as being wrong, but it's my role as a tech
visionary to just know it has but can't explain why. I think it's
that iCloud commercial that did it for me.

It's funny, I saw the new iPad 3 articles today. I have no reason to
get one, yet I know I will the minute the jailbreak comes out for it.
My iPhone has lessened my dependence on the iPad, but I'd love to
have the LTE speed even though I'm connected to Wifi most of the day.
Will I be the first to get the new iPad? No. Will I be one of the
first to jailbreak an iPad 3? Most definitely.


Matt Rumbelow March 7, 2012 at 10:32 PM  

Didnt Henry Ford famously say; "If I had listened to my customers I would have built a faster horse"??

Perhaps Autodesk are trying to reverse engineer that advice?

David Butts March 9, 2012 at 8:43 AM  

'Zactly, man, 'exactly...

Anonymous,  March 15, 2012 at 11:51 AM  

Excellent post.

Lets not forget the way Autodesk creates huge tensions between resellers. As a reseller, whoever contacts a potential client first and "logs the contact info" to Autodesk, they get the price quoted to the client with a locked in rate that's discounted. Any other reseller cannot come close to the price originally quoted to the client.

Some people see this as a incentive to motivate resellers, but I see it as a greedy ploy to have resellers become blood-thirsty and aggressive in their regional market. Level the playing field and let the resellers offer their own incentives.

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