10 April 2009

Free AutoCAD a Hoax

Autodesk recently published an article reading, in part, "In order to get ahead in the workplace, you need to invest in yourself by increasing your knowledge and expanding your skills.. The program offers... Free Software License*"

The timing for this announcement was probably no accident. Autodesk's paying yearly upgrade buyers (unsubscribed) got a big shock just two weeks earlier when Autodesk unveiled plans to triple their upgrade prices. So this quick fix to bury any bad karma was probably planned weeks in advance.

But is the "Free Software License" really free? Actually the license only lasts for thirteen months. Applicants must be able to prove that they are an unemployed design professional, and give reference to their last place and time of employment. Appearantly it is also watermarked "Educational", so it can't legally be used for any kind of commercial work. In other words, this isn't what you were thinking it was. Autodesk is really just expanding their educational program to include recently unemployed users of their software.

Far from "caring about the little guy", Autodesk continues to relentlessly charge high prices to their paying customers, accost people trying to sell AutoCAD on eBay, drag small businesses to court who try to enable high-end functionality in the lower price Autodesk products like AutoCAD LT and kill open interoperability of their file formats.

Sorry, no free AutoCAD.


Anonymous said...

I have several folks I know who are either former students of former associates of clients who are now out of work and with no version of ACAD avaliable to them otherwise since they cannot afford to purchase a full seat, they would either be stuck with a 30 day demo or finding a copy online illegally and taking their chances with viruses and garbage when they download and install a cracked version so a free 13 month version is a very good thing for them. It keeps them legal and allows them to use the full version of ACAD to keep their skills fresh. However you failed to mention one drawback which is that this is only for 2009 version even though they have already shipped the 2010 version. Also the "books" that you can get for free aren't books but a bunch of short videos put together to form a video "book".


CADDIT CAD Software said...

Thanks for the added details. I just felt like we maybe said enough already ;) Some hide the educational program with vague reports like "free autocad for the unemployed" which give casual readers a false idea and generating a lot of buzz marketing in favour of Autodesk for something they really aren't offering. I don’t think this is any accident, either.

Taking advantage of an unfortunate situation with more marketing tricks is like kicking a small dog when it’s already down. If we really care about the unemployed, accurate headlines like “educational program now includes unemployed” might dignify readers more.