Leading architecture firms pen open letter to Autodesk over rising costs, sluggish development

We have to be very grateful to MCNeel as а company and the people working there! Especially reading this open letter - https://www.aecmag.com/comment-mainmenu-36/2046-autodesk-aec-customers-demand-better-value


https://media.giphy.com/media/LpkBAUDg53FI8xLmg1/giphy.gif :slight_smile:

I was thinking of

This is exactly the time for competitors to grab the cake and eat it.

// Rolf

The article quoted in the open letter. Really enjoyed my 3 or so years of Rhino, can’t wait to see what the next 5 yrs brings.

mckinsey article

guys, whoever ingested my few metaphorically outlined words without being all childish about it, could let me know in private. or better, let me know in public that people can learn from each other.

this is very sad, but equally concerning, since we should be dealing here with people in mostly highly educated fields.

Hi encephalon,

Luckily we can still read your reply and judge for ourselves if we take offense.

Peronally I’d never make comparison with some of the worst regimes in modern history. They caused millions of innocent deaths, a multitude of that on broken and destroyed souls and generation surpassing traumas.

Because if you bring that in a discussion about unethically monopolizing a segment of professional software…I understand some of those scarred will take offense.

Calling it childish IMO is not very respectful. And contrary to your opinion I think a high education will make people better a judging how appropriate metaphores are.

IMO all your hyperbolic comments do is distract from the point you want to make.



Hi Willem,

we have to grow an understanding how to deal with each other further, that events of such sort neither politically nor digitally shall happen further. every single one of us is in one way or another a victim of the past.

trying to cut each other off instead of adding up on opinions is what i see as respectless but even more plain ignorant. if we kill each other about it or try to mute the crap out of each other and getting caught up dangling around with clichés, we never make sense from it.

You haven’t read the room well.

Moving on. As an employee of a small business the change to collections was nice, I think it even reduced our costs and enabled us to obtain extra software.

My bigger concern, and this gets political so my apologies in advance, is whether our reliance on US developed CAD software will leave the rest of us at risk of being left without such amazing tools over the coming decades due to the apparent political turmoil going on there. The chances of restricted supply I admit are fairly small, but the costs would be unimaginable, hence the elevated risk.

Don’t worry about it! It’s what we do. Been doing it on and off in varying intensity since the Boston Tea Party. What you see on your screens is, in part, either exaggerated for media sensationalism, or manipulated by adversaries.

Back to AD/Revit…seems an opportunity for Rhino???

This does not ease my concerns about the impacts your turmoil has on international access to your fine software.

You’re seriously concerned about this? I think you need to stop getting your news from Twitter.

It’s all about risk.

My personal community is being a bit vocal about being less reliant on other countries for value added products and sourcing locally made items. Why would software be any different? I am pragmatic about the situation but can see the point of view. Noone wants to be blindsided by sudden decisions.

I am not on twitter.

I am a little surprised noone else thinks this is a worthy consideration.

At least you’re on trend with the [whereever I am] FIRST movement.

Decide whether the will and ability to stand up to tyranny is a weakness or strength.

This is an interesting topic as of late. Subscription fees have dramatically increased the software costs of firms. I am absolutely not seeing higher drawing quality to go along with the extra expenditures (except from top-tier BIM firms/techs, the industry average is pretty dismal). I don’t feel like these programs are really getting better. They add more and more ‘flashy’ features that absolutely nobody uses. Frustratingly, at the same time I feel like Revit is missing a few minor fundamental features.

I will say that I tried out a lot of different stuff. I used to claim that Revit was never “the best BIM program” but rather the “Best marketed BIM program”. After trying out other programs I now understand exactly why Revit has so much market share. Revit’s ‘style’ doesn’t suite me, but the program does a lot of stuff right (but of course, is not without it’s flaws). The bigger issues in my opinion are poor training, cost (they force you to subscribe to an ‘AEC’ collection just to get AutoCAD and Revit packaged together) and insane hardware requirements. In my opinion they’ve pushed people too far.

I suspect a viable alternative will appear in the future. As we speak, there are firms using Sketchup (I know of at least two architectural firms and one structural firm) successfully doing most of their production in Sketchup (although I suspect they are sneaking in 2D chores via AutoCAD LT or something similar, and likely also utilize some pretty impressive Ruby/Grasshopper programming). They make it sound like they achieve a higher profitability using Sketchup than they would/could with Revit. I can’t verify that, but there’s zero evidence to the contrary; they’re doing good!

If a firm can do what I describe in that last paragraph with Sketchup, they can obviously do it with Rhino as well. It’s just a matter of time. I’m excited to dabble in Rhino some more, and most importantly, play around with the Visual Arq plugin. That’ll have to wait as I my trial is almost over (but McNeel has more than earned a “take my money” here) and I won’t have enough free time until winter to really dig into the program/develop a workflow.

The big players are leaving the door wide open for new competitors to steal market share. This is one reason I’m scared to invest time into becoming a ‘Revit power user’ and instead, trying to find the next big thing.


I’m literally afraid to invest extra time into learning Revit for that exact reason. Is something of better value going to appear and take off in the near future?

AutoCAD is very ‘crafty’ in how they price their software. If you really go into depth and do an economic analysis/risk assessment, Revit/AutoCAD alternatives often seem ‘barely’ not worth the cost savings. There’s lots of stuff out there, that with a little work, could be a way more viable option compared to Autodesk products.

Autodesk has people subscribe to the ‘AEC’ collection which includes a tons of stuff. Only the most multi-faceted firms would ever need each and every piece of software within that suite. The frustrating part is that Autodesk doesn’t offer AutoCAD/Revit combined at a more reasonable price. It feels like they are charging people for a lot of extra junk they don’t use. Essentially one now pays for 100% of the development costs of all those programs while using less than 20% of them.

If a technician actually knows how to use AutoCAD, Revit, Civil 3D, Navisworks, 3D Studio Max… I would be extremely impressed.

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Apart from the fact that I also see this development critical, from my perspective this is a bit hypocritical. The leading architectural firms have the reputation for exploiting manpower all over the world. Architecture is one of the worst and unfair payed jobs in world requiring an academic graduation. And the question is, what did BIM made better? So many projects blew up the budget and time plan by factor 2 at best. Not saying its all their fault, to great extend its also communal mismanagement, bureaucracy and competition. But the fact that architects are not payed fair is the initial problem. If you need someone using software worth 100000 €/$, then this is a price a client has to pay. The money is burned at so many other places.


Revit needs a complete rewrite from the ground up basically, efficient software it aint. Monopolies don’t really have such an incentive however. I spent my early twenties wondering why Microstation didn’t have more users despite it being far superior to AutoCad. Pleased to see the industry is finally pushing back.


They really didn’t hear the crux of the issue, or respond to it at least.

What are they going to do to help people out as the global economy tanks and we have a prolonged deflationary environment?

They aren’t going to provide aggressive discounts or a new business model right when they got their money machine humming along.