NEWS: Bentley takes aim at Autodesk business model change

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Bentley gives Autodesk customers opportunity to ‘upgrade’ Autodesk Perpetual Licences in advance of July 31 deadline

With Autodesk moving to selling subscription licences only from the end of this month onwards, Pennsylvania-based developer Bentley Systems has taken the opportunity to mix things up a bit by offering Autodesk customers ‘upgrades’ or cross-grades to its range of MicroStation-based infrastructure products.

Although customers who purchased a perpetual licence of Autodesk Design & Creation Suites prior to July 31, 2016, will continue to own and have full usage rights for those licences, and customers on Maintenance for those perpetual licences will continue to receive corresponding benefits for as long as they continue to renew their Maintenance, Bentley argues that this in effect writes-off the future value of their investment.

With its Autodesk License Upgrade Program, Bentley Systems will credit the net value of Autodesk licences towards upgraded ‘evergreen’ perpetual licences of Bentley’s applications. The company argues that these Bentley perpetual licences never depreciate, as the company offers customers ‘annual portfolio balancing’, enabling ‘permits’ to be exchanged to change the configuration within Bentley’s growing application portfolio. The banking of past investment in design tools offers flexibility for firms to dynamically deploy new technology.

With Autodesk’s move to subscription, users don’t have to give up past perpetual licences, but in the future can only acquire new seats and upgrades on a subscription rate. Over a number of years this does work out more expensive than the previous ownership / upgrade model.

With the July 31 deadline fast approaching AEC Magazine hears there has been a rush to fill up on perpetual licensed software. Autodesk also introduced ‘Industry Collections’, the cloud variant of Suites, offering single-user access or multi-user access to 14 applications plus cloud services.

At a core level, Bentley offers both quarterly term-licences, or perpetual licensed software which are updated based on a SELECT subscription. To leverage the cloud there is a Cloud Services Subscription, which when combined with term-licences enables monthly terms. There’s ProjectWise for managing project delivery and AssetWise for Infrastructure assets which can be remote hosted or on-site. Within Bentley’s portfolio there are hundreds of AEC relevant applications, with some very powerful structural analysis tools and the ‘it must be magic’ ContextCapture technology for reality modelling. And not forgetting the LumenRT life-like renderer.


Bhupinder Singh, Bentleys Chief Product Officer, said, “Bentley Systems considers purchases of perpetual licences to be long-term investments by our users, so we continually innovate to increase their value. We are glad to now extend this future-proofing to Autodesk licence owners who otherwise will lose value in their applications. And we will continue to offer users the choice to purchase licences or subscriptions to fit their commercial preferences. Especially with the new CONNECT Edition (the latest generation of Bentley’s applications), which leverage intrinsic cloud services, I’m convinced that former Autodesk users will considerably prefer the many BIM advancements of our comprehensive modeling environment (AECOsim and ProjectWise).”

To back up Bentley’s claims, John Cruikshank, President & CEO, JMC2 Civil Engineering + Surveying, said, “Autodesk continually sets deadlines forcing us to give up our perpetual licence for an annual subscription. Their actions have made sticking with the great Bentley products that much easier.”

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