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Fusion 360 RIPS OFF subscription customers by removing multiaxis tool paths

DanP_85

Aluminum
Joined
May 24, 2008
Location
Taupo, New Zealand
What if you paid before they showed you the EULA?

I know many places in the states aren't good for this but in some countries (like New Zealand) you can't "contract out" consumer protections like prohibitions on bait and switch. So their EULA clause would be unenforceable here if you wanted to challenge it... AD may know this because I have a 3year license and haven't gotten this notice yet.
 

gkoenig

Titanium
Joined
Mar 31, 2013
Location
Portland, OR
I feel that the CAD/CAM industry has long needed a simple 3 axis product with a 4th as an add on. Small shops and home gamers would flock to this, as they did with F360. Only one that won't bone it's customers...

Small shops and home gamers are a shitty market segment to be in. They don't want to spend much money, but there are not enough of them to support the massive scale of sales needed to keep the sort of development team a CAD and/or CAM platform needs to survive.

15 yeas ago, HSM Works burst onto the market with intuitive, powerful, CAM that ran inside the most popular CAD system... at about 1/2 the cost of legacy options like MasterCAM or NX. They even gave away the 2.5 Axis version! Can't get much more accessible than free.

By all accounts, it was still the HSM Works founders who initiated the talks with Autodesk about a sell-out. Despite being the most successful new entrant in this field in the last 15 years (excepting Fusion 360), even these guys couldn't make low-ish cost software work as a perpetual license business.
 

gustafson

Diamond
Joined
Sep 4, 2002
Location
People's Republic
If I read the EULA correct, they are only obligated to provide the service as purchased for 90 days. Section 5.1.

Not if you paid for it

I think they would have to refund your money

OF course there are few options at that price point for 5 axis work

Again, EULAs can say a lot of stuff, doesn't mean it will hold up in court

could be there are not enough users in that camp that they worry about a class action suit or such, but if that was the case, why not let them keep their functionality until their sub runs out?
 

gustafson

Diamond
Joined
Sep 4, 2002
Location
People's Republic
By all accounts, it was still the HSM Works founders who initiated the talks with Autodesk about a sell-out. Despite being the most successful new entrant in this field in the last 15 years (excepting Fusion 360), even these guys couldn't make low-ish cost software work as a perpetual license business.

Seems to me lots of companies made money in the past selling fairly cheap software, and they can make more money on subscription software. Intuit for instance.

CAD software is a pretty proven thing.

It seems to me companies get addicted to revenue stream above what they are really worth. IF you sell a 5k piece of software, that software should run until the OS updates crash it. This continuous development is more of a PITA from my perspective than useful updates. I don't use my CAD a bunch and seems every time I fire Fusion up it needs to update, and costs me time

You sell software, it is required to work for a year[for instance] with Windows updates[meaning company has to update] You need to fix bugs[or, gasp, write it right in the first place]
After that maybe you have to pay for updates no matter who's fault

I have some software that has been on my computers for years and years that has need no updates.


Also seems to me that the companies have created their own bloat.
Back in the dark ages, you had a dongle and CDs and you could load your software on any computer you wanted but run it on one at a time.
Now they have a system of online checks and security that requires computer and corporate overhead.

Seems like they created their own problems.

You want more money? Make continually improved software so people need to buy the new version, don't screw the people who already have your software.

Much like Intuit and Quickbooks, they ran out of new things to do in accounting software, I mean, what does my new software do that it fundamentally didn't do 10, 15 years ago? Nothing. Same with CAD. I have a near 20 year old version of solidworks that[if that computer fires up, Win 2k] does basically everything new software does[in a 3 axis world]. Since there are no innovations of substance to be had, they go to a subscription model to keep their revenue stream going.

You wrote some code 20 years ago, I don't need to keep paying you for that over and over. If your business model is that, you are going to get rolled over at some point in time.
 

BugRobotics

Hot Rolled
Joined
Jun 22, 2015
Location
Denver, CO
Not if you paid for it

I think they would have to refund your money

OF course there are few options at that price point for 5 axis work

Again, EULAs can say a lot of stuff, doesn't mean it will hold up in court

could be there are not enough users in that camp that they worry about a class action suit or such, but if that was the case, why not let them keep their functionality until their sub runs out?

You may be 100% correct. I know nothing about the law with respect to what would hold up in court. I was just echoing what was stated in the EULA. Would be interesting to get a lawyer's point of view in the topic, assuming you aren't one already.

Did you interpret section 5.1 the same way?
 

BugRobotics

Hot Rolled
Joined
Jun 22, 2015
Location
Denver, CO
Small shops and home gamers are a shitty market segment to be in. They don't want to spend much money, but there are not enough of them to support the massive scale of sales needed to keep the sort of development team a CAD and/or CAM platform needs to survive.

15 yeas ago, HSM Works burst onto the market with intuitive, powerful, CAM that ran inside the most popular CAD system... at about 1/2 the cost of legacy options like MasterCAM or NX. They even gave away the 2.5 Axis version! Can't get much more accessible than free.

By all accounts, it was still the HSM Works founders who initiated the talks with Autodesk about a sell-out. Despite being the most successful new entrant in this field in the last 15 years (excepting Fusion 360), even these guys couldn't make low-ish cost software work as a perpetual license business.
Epic sadness when I heard they sold out. First heard whispers about it from Rene on the forum and knew I was gonna have to find a replacement in the near future. Then Rene just vanished from Autodesk after the buyout. It was over.

It was so cool being able to speak directly to the development team as issues were addressed. I would have paid whatever they wanted to keep developing the software. I think the license I purchased was like $6k from NewGenCAM? Sucks that they couldn't make it work financially as I thought of their team as rather small. Were there not enough users?
 

goooose

Hot Rolled
Joined
Nov 14, 2007
Location
canada
This is all you need to know about EULAs...

EULAs are not legally binding contracts. Nothing in a EULA is there to protect the consumer. Continued use of the software is consent you agree to any changes in the EULA.

In short, a class action would get laughed out of court.
 

BugRobotics

Hot Rolled
Joined
Jun 22, 2015
Location
Denver, CO
This is all you need to know about EULAs...

EULAs are not legally binding contracts. Nothing in a EULA is there to protect the consumer. Continued use of the software is consent you agree to any changes in the EULA.

In short, a class action would get laughed out of court.
Good to know, thanks.

Can you elaborate on why a lawsuit would get laughed out of court? I'm legitimately confused as you say the EULA isn't legally binding which would make me think that if the software was handicapped after purchase then the software provider could be held accountable in court. Or did I misinterpret your statement?
 

gustafson

Diamond
Joined
Sep 4, 2002
Location
People's Republic
This is all you need to know about EULAs...

EULAs are not legally binding contracts. Nothing in a EULA is there to protect the consumer. Continued use of the software is consent you agree to any changes in the EULA.

In short, a class action would get laughed out of court.

I don't think that is true

A quick look it seems that there are circuit splits and no defined law.

You take money to provide a piece of software for a period of time. YOu fundamentally and for the worse change the functionality of the software, I think that there is an argument to be made there

Again, the limited amount of temporary money they would lose to risk a court case is stupid.

The screwing of the lifetime licenses is probably worth it to them

I have a almost 15 year old version of QB Enterprise that still runs on my old office computer, but because I made a mistake in some arcane way, I cannot transfer it to a new computer. This to me is an example of totally legit limitations. IT sucks but they did not take anything away from me,
 

goooose

Hot Rolled
Joined
Nov 14, 2007
Location
canada
Good to know, thanks.

Can you elaborate on why a lawsuit would get laughed out of court? I'm legitimately confused as you say the EULA isn't legally binding which would make me think that if the software was handicapped after purchase then the software provider could be held accountable in court. Or did I misinterpret your statement?

No software is purchased/owned by the end user, even if you are on a perpetual license. This gets into copyright but basically you are paying to borrow the software. The terms of your contract to use the software and what features it may have would only be covered in a Terms of Use (made by the selling company) or a EULA (made by the selling company). Obviously, the company would have these worded in their best interest. If they want to be able to do what AD is doing here, you can almost guarantee they have this covered in one of their agreements.

Here is something from their Terms of Service
Autodesk warrants that, for any paid subscription, as of the date on which the subscribed-for Offering is made available to You and for 90 days thereafter or, if the subscription period is shorter, such shorter period (“Warranty Period”), the Offering will provide the general features and functions described in the end-user Documentation for the Offering. Autodesk’s entire obligation and liability, and Your sole and exclusive remedy, for Autodesk’s breach of this warranty will be for Autodesk, at its option, (i) to attempt reasonably to remedy the breach or (ii) to refund amounts received for the affected subscription and terminate such subscription. You must bring any warranty claim for any Offering within its applicable Warranty Period.

Sounds to me like only those who have signed up within the last 90 days have any recourse. And that recourse is basically you can end your subscription and get some money back. I doubt any will do so.
 

BugRobotics

Hot Rolled
Joined
Jun 22, 2015
Location
Denver, CO
No software is purchased/owned by the end user, even if you are on a perpetual license. This gets into copyright but basically you are paying to borrow the software. The terms of your contract to use the software and what features it may have would only be covered in a Terms of Use (made by the selling company) or a EULA (made by the selling company). Obviously, the company would have these worded in their best interest. If they want to be able to do what AD is doing here, you can almost guarantee they have this covered in one of their agreements.

Here is something from their Terms of Service


Sounds to me like only those who have signed up within the last 90 days have any recourse. And that recourse is basically you can end your subscription and get some money back. I doubt any will do so.

Yea, I interpreted section 5.1 from their EULA the same way.
 

Mike Henry

Titanium
Joined
Aug 18, 2001
Location
Batavia, IL USA
Today Fusion 360 can be purchased for $495 a year or $1410 for 3 years (US prices). The Machining Extension adds another $1600 year which is a tough pill to swallow since it more than triples the cost. I'm curious what is the cost of alternative software that can handle 4 and 5 axis work?

Various version of SprutCAM can handle 4/5-axis continuous and it is sold as a one-time purchase with fee-based upgrades about every 18 months or so for $800 or so. The developers are Russian, however, so support may be an issue right now. It seems to be used a lot more in Europe than in the US, but there is a US-based distributor.
 

gkoenig

Titanium
Joined
Mar 31, 2013
Location
Portland, OR
It seems to be used a lot more in Europe than in the US, but there is a US-based distributor.

I was curious about that the other day and looked it up. They apparently set the company up in Cypress, making them EU based. This likely gets around most of the Russia restrictions.
 

gkoenig

Titanium
Joined
Mar 31, 2013
Location
Portland, OR
Seems to me lots of companies made money in the past selling fairly cheap software, and they can make more money on subscription software. Intuit for instance.

I don't think folks on here are understanding two bedrock truths about the CAM software market:

1- It is a very tiny niche of software, $9.1 Billion in 2020 globally. Your Intuit comparison? This one company did $9.6 Billion in revenue that same year - yes, Intuit alone is bigger than the entire CAD/CAM space. Adobe is another comparison; they did $16 Billion in revenue that year, while Sales Force did $17 Billion.

Adobe, Intuit, and SalesForce each have millions and millions of users (Intuit has 100 Million users, Adobe has ~18 Million paying Creative Cloud accounts). The total number of CAM seats out there, is somewhere between 750k and 1 Million. Again, this is a teeny tiny market compared to anything else in the software racket.

2- Developing CAM Software is Crazy Expensive
This is not software a smart hacker can crank out on evenings and weekends. Even basic 3 axis CAM needs a team of developers and 3-4 years of work before it gets to the minimum viable product point where you can even think of asking people to pay for it. Even after spending $5+ Million to get to MVP, you enter the market as an unknown upstart - who exactly is going to pay even $1k for this? We all have *something* working that puts us in a position to even be looking at your software... who exactly is going to take the time to buy and sink learning resources into your package?

The elephant in the room is Fusion, which has killed off a bevvy of the once somewhat alive low-cost CAD/CAM market (like SprutCAM). Fusion is currently feature complete against SolidWorks for CAD, probably leads the class in 3+2 milling, and is OK at turning... for $500 a year. You are never going to convince anyone to buy a $1000-$2000 perpetual license of your startup software when Fusion is less money out of pocket and 10x more capable.

In the end, you'll never find a VC who would invest in this. They *might* invest if you offered a lower-cost subscription, because that is literally the only modern business model that works.
 

Mike Henry

Titanium
Joined
Aug 18, 2001
Location
Batavia, IL USA
I was curious about that the other day and looked it up. They apparently set the company up in Cypress, making them EU based. This likely gets around most of the Russia restrictions.

Their (SprutCAM) FaceBook page has been devoid of new posts since late February and they normally post several times a week. Russia has apparently banned FB so at least that part of their business may be affected. The main page - sprutcam.com still loads, though.
 

SeymourDumore

Diamond
Joined
Aug 2, 2005
Location
CT
Developing CAM Software is Crazy Expensive...

In the end, you'll never find a VC who would invest in this.

Perhaps not, but do you have an idea what the undisclosed price was for Sandvik to acquire CNC-Software?
'Cos until then, said private company has started from scratch, built, and maintained an otherwise successful and profitable company.

Using your same logic though ...
What do you think the pricetag would be, should Gene decide to sell his self-built empire?

Or, are you saying that from here-on-end, only Multinationals need to apply?
 

goooose

Hot Rolled
Joined
Nov 14, 2007
Location
canada
1- It is a very tiny niche of software, $9.1 Billion in 2020 globally.

lol niche is 9 billion. Ya, totally not worth getting into that market :nutter:

2- Developing CAM Software is Crazy Expensive

Software is software. CAM is no more difficult than any game. You think math is going to scare off developers?

Fusion is currently feature complete against SolidWorks for CAD, probably leads the class in 3+2 milling, and is OK at turning

lol that's the funniest shit I've read in a long time!

In the end, you'll never find a VC who would invest in this.

No one invested when Gene Haas started developing his first rotary. No one invested in the first line of code written for Mastercam. If you had bought into either on day 1, I think you're doing pretty good if you cashed out today.

The next big thing in CAM will come from some kid who hacks something together over a year or two on his own, just like all the previous big things. Some company will buy him/her out just like all the ones before. VCs would throw every dime they could at this kid if they could find them.
 








 
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