Following quickly on the heels of an interview with Autodesk CEO (soon to appear in engineering.com), we read about Autodesk most recent quarter. Though Andrew Anagnost and I spoke for an hour, he did reveal any mention of what may be the company’s most hopeful result in recent memory. The company lost even less than usual, only $39 million, the least loss in over 2 years. While the profit is still negative, in the last two quarters, the company has lopped $135 million off its losses. The trajectory is clearly shooting towards positive!
Come to think of it, Andrew was in a pretty good mood.
Like peace, profits are always good. But the revenue curve looks even more consistent in its climb, now with 6 straight quarters of revenue growth.
Maybe the new CEO, with his new math and talk of ARR*, all meant to convince us that it was just a matter of time before deferred revenues would make up for what used to be collected at the onset of a software sale, like it did with old, perpetual license model… maybe there was something to all that.
From where we sit, there’s been no exodus of users away from Autodesk. So we should not be surprised. Maybe it is working exactly as promised, that the profit would again be come. It all depended on the users staying in the flock, all remaining would eventually see the light of term licensing and sign up, then we'd wait until that revenue, though coming in smaller chunks, would be realized.
A few did leave the flock but it was too few to matter. Many more have been vocal about their loss of perpetual license, the heart rending cries of users who thought their relationship would last forever, and then found out they had to pay forever, instead. But most of the flock has stayed intact.
How do we know the flock stayed intact? Any competition (all other CAD companies) would have touted those that joined. That never happened. No trumpet blowing, no doubling of user bases, no big architecture or construction firm announcing they were done with Autodesk and moving to another software platform. Even when other design software vendors held out perpetual license as a lure, an option they still had for their software. Their users still had a choice, they said, not like big, bad Autodesk. The lure was not taken. Not often enough. Certainly nothing to crow about.
You can’t blame them for trying.
*Accelerated annualized recurring revenue, if you must know.