In the IT industry the only constant is change and this year and the next Autodesk is changing the way you can purchase software. What drives this change is that most IT products and general services are moving to the cloud and more and more are being delivered as ‘on-demand’ options.

Autodesk Perpetual licensing

To explain the current situation:  Currently you will purchase a product, let’s say AutoCAD 2016 as a Perpetual License and you can use it the rest of your life.

In South Africa you also purchase these products with Subscription for a period of 1 year. After this year you have the option to renew the Subscription for another year. Some of the Subscription benefits are that you’ll receive the latest release of the software when available. You are also able to install the software at home through the Home License benefit. You can also install up to three older versions of the software on the same PC if you are working with consultants or have 3rd party software that only works on a specific version.

If you don’t renew then you still can use the AutoCAD 2017 in this case. (Not 2016 version as the “Previous Version” benefits has lapsed with the end of the 1 year Subscription) The 2017 version usually gets released in March of following year.  Remember you will not receive the actual installation media of 2017.  You’ll need to request the free installation media DVD or Flash drive by visiting your Autodesk Account ( ) and order the media to be shipped to your address. This needs to be done within your 1 year Subscription window as when the Subscription has lapsed you don’t have access to the Autodesk Account.

Autodesk Desktop Subscription

Now the way you are purchasing software is changing and after end of January 2016 you will not be able to purchase single products, like AutoCAD 2016, as perpetual licenses anymore. The Suite purchase cut-off date is end July 2016. In other words you won’t be able to purchase a perpetual license of Building Design Suite Premium 2017 after July 2016.  Below is the timeline as a summary.


To explain the new model called Desktop Subscription: This is basically a rental. You will purchase a 1 year license to use the software and after the 365 days the software will cut off.  You’ll have the same Subscription benefits as described above.

You can purchase Desktop Subscription licenses in quarterly, yearly or up to 3 year periods. This is actually very handy one hand as the number of product licenses in your office can now ebb and flow with your company’s capacity as software demand will increase for larger projects and decrease for slow down periods. You can also build the cost of the software rental into the costs of the project.

Below is a slide to that summarizes the differences between the two purchasing methods.


Breakeven Matrix

We’ve done a simple cost breakeven matrix between the two systems and if you plan to use the software for longer than 4 years then it’s a good financial decision to purchase perpetual licenses with the maximum Subscription period (max 3 years) as soon as possible.


I’ve tried my best to explain the two licensing system above but if you require any further information with regards to the above please contact us at