Autodesk has been pushing for years now to get all customers onto an annual subscription program. They’ve trotted out the typical reasons: it’s cheaper, it’s easier, it’s simpler, you get more free stuff, etc. Clearly the “sell now, deliver later” model is better for Autodesk, and it’s not surprising that Autodesk has been pushing it hard.
One can imagine that tough economic times are taking a toll on Autodesk’s customers, and that they are deciding to jump off the subscription bandwagon. Ralph Grabowski suspects that plummeting subscription revenues are causing Autodesk to renew efforts to paint a rosy picture and convince its customers to stay on the wagon.
In an interview on Steve Johnson’s blog nauseam, Callan Carpenter of Autodesk attempts to portray non-subscription customers as a dying breed.
We’re down to very low single digits of customers who upgrade, and of those only half of those upgrade 1 or 2 years back. So we’re talking about approximately 1.5% of our revenue that comes from customers upgrading 1 and 2 versions back.
This statement seems to be carefully designed to imply that only 3% of customers are not on subscription. That’s not what it says, of course, but that’s the impression it attempts to convey. Without knowing the precise definition of “customers who upgrade” (how could you possibly know that a customer won’t upgrade?), and without knowing what percentage of those same revenues come from subscription customers, there is just no way to gain any real information from Callan’s statement.
Since I can throw numbers around just as well as the next guy, I decided to survey a random sampling of Autodesk customers (that also happen to be ManuSoft customers). According to the responses I received, 82% of Autodesk customers fall into the non-subscription category, and about half of those are in the “3 or more versions behind” category.
What’s really interesting is that if I carefully hand pick the time period, then about 3% of ManuSoft revenues for that time period came from non-subscription Autodesk customers. Funny how that works.