Shifts in Payment Models for CAD Deployments

Given the recent desktop virtualization move for PTC Creo, it will be interesting to watch whether PTC will start offering subscriptions for some Creo apps (and Dassault Systèmes for SolidWorks). This is especially interesting in light of the recent move of Siemens Solid Edge to subscription licensing, and also since Autodesk is now offering its desktop and other design products on a pay-as-you-go basis.

In terms of comparing 3D computer-aided design (CAD) offerings, one can put SolidWorks, Autodesk Inventor, Solid Edge, and even PTC CoCreate (now Creo/Elements Direct) in the mid-market category, and Dassault CATIA, Siemens NX, and PTC Creo Parametric (formerly Pro/E) in the large enterprise category. For the latter, I don’t see subscription or cloud models coming any time soon.

The reason for Autodesk to do pay-as-you-go is that it fits with the vendor’s overall strategy in how it targets professional (and even consumer) users. The reason for Solid Edge to do so is that it is still a smaller player trying to catch up with SolidWorks’ market share. For its part, SolidWorks remains healthy with its current product and is working diligently within Dassault's V6 platform, based on the CGM kernel (the latest release being SolidWorks 2014). Since V6 is database-based, moving to cloud should be easier and more beneficial for customers, if and when the vendor decides to pursue that deployment option.
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