Autodesk Moves EAGLE To Subscription Only Pricing

EAGLE user? We hope you like subscription fees.

Autodesk has announced that EAGLE is now only available for purchase as a subscription. Previous, users purchased EAGLE once, and used the software indefinitely (often for years) before deciding to move to a new version with another one-time purchase. Now, they’ll be paying Autodesk on a monthly or yearly basis.

Lets break down the costs. Before Autodesk purchased EAGLE from CadSoft, a Standard license would run you $69, paid once. The next level up was Premium, at $820, paid once. The new pricing tiers from Autodesk are a bit different. Standard will cost $15/month or $100/year, and gives similar functionality to the old Premium level, but with only 2 signal layers. If you need more layers, or more than 160 cm^2 of board space, you’ll need the new Premium level, at $65/month or $500/year.

New Subscription Pricing Table for Eagle
New Pricing Table for EAGLE

This is a bad deal for the pocket book of many users. If you could have made do with the old Standard option, you’re now paying $100/year instead of the one-time $69 payment. If you need more space or layers, you’ll likely be up to $500/year. Autodesk also killed the lower cost options for non-commercial use, what used to be a $169 version that was positioned for hobbyists.

The free version still exists, but for anyone using Eagle for commercial purposes (from Tindie sellers to engineering firms) this is a big change. Even if you agree with the new pricing, a subscription model means you never actually own the software. This model will require licensing software that needs to phone home periodically and can be killed remotely. If you need to look back at a design a few years from now, you better hope that your subscription is valid, that Autodesk is still running the license server, and that you have an active internet connection.

On the flip side of the coin, we can assume that Eagle was sold partly because the existing pricing model wasn’t doing all it should. Autodesk is justifying these changes with a promise of more frequent updates and features which will be included in all subscriptions. But sadly, Autodesk couldn’t admit that the new pricing has downsides for users:

“We know it’s not easy paying a lump sum for software updates every few years. It can be hard on your budget, and you never know when you need to have funds ready for the next upgrade.”

In their press release, they claim the move is only good for customers. Their marketing speak even makes the cliche comparison to the price of a coffee every day. Seriously.

[Garrett Mace] summarized his view on this nicely on Twitter: “previously paid $1591.21 for 88 months == $18.08/mo. Moving to $65/mo? KICAD looks better.”

We agree [Garrett]. KiCad has been improving steadily in the past years, and now is definitely a good time for EAGLE users to consider it before signing on to the Autodesk Subscription Plan™.

409 thoughts on “Autodesk Moves EAGLE To Subscription Only Pricing

  1. How is this even a discussion? Subscription model for creation tools is a total non-starter.

    The cost of the tool is _irrelevant_, I pay professional engineers a salary to create designs. I have literally hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in their output. Now the tool we use to manipulate this investment is subject to the whim of a corporation seeking a profit.

    A corporation that has already lied to us about this very thing. Six months ago they said they we not moving to a subscription model.

    If I own my software, I can at least view, edit, and manipulate my existing designs even if it is ancient software at any point into the future. Every aspect of it is under my control, and I can choose how I want to manage my risk exposure.

    With a subscription model, I cannot control my risk. Period.

    And don’t give me that crap about Autodesk being a stable company blah blah blah. Mergers and acquisitions happen all the time – this is at least the third owner for Eagle and Farnell was supposedly stable too.

          1. Thankfully I don’t use any other Autodesk products. I don’t do subscription software, period. This is non-negotiable, and since I’m the customer, the guy with the money to spend, I’m the one who sets the terms. It’s that simple.

      1. Wow Matt. You do have some serious hide. “@Dave, it’s not going subscription. So there. At this stage, that isn’t anywhere on my roadmap. Thought about it. Decided against it.”

        With that track record I’m sure we can assume once our designs are in Eagle V8 and we’re reliant on the platform we won’t see price hikes from Autodesk. After all. You wouldn’t back-flip would you. Anyone who buys in only has themselves to blame when they are trapped. I’m out. Hello KiCad.

        Another quote for you:

        “Eagles may soar, but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines” — Steven Wright

        I think if you turn around you might see an Airbus 380 coming up close behind. Eagle V8 should be renamed Eagle NRND.

    1. > If I own my software, I can at least view, edit, and manipulate my existing designs even if it is ancient software at any point into the future. Every aspect of it is under my control, and I can choose how I want to manage my risk exposure.

      With a subscription model, I cannot control my risk. Period.

      This is why I can never bring myself to support subscription model. We have seen the trend in all modern products and services that companies never actually think about the long term support of their product. It is absolutely not okay to lock your own former customers out of their products, intentionally or otherwise.

      1. You don’t really own any software. I know it is a bit of a strange thought as they can’t really stop you from using ‘purchased’ software but a cloud based product they could block you.

        As far as subscription model in general. It is simply the way all software companies want to go. They keep a good revenue stream this way. If the ‘sell’ a copy, too few people buy maintenance. If they don’t have a new version to sell every few years (or months), the revenue dries up!

        This is a lot like how games on your iPhone when from pay to ‘pay to play’. They want more $$.

        I already stared my move to other products because of how Cadsoft simply didn’t keep up with the times and it was clunky to use anyway but now I have to rethink this as as I know Autodesk and they will get this thing in shape.

        I am also a Fusion 360 user and that product went from an also-ran to amazing in just a couple years.

        Still hate subscriptions and storing anything on someone elses ‘cloud’ and will not do so if I can’t also store the data locally but unless congress steps in (or someone insults Trump so we get his attention) subscription is where the industry is going. (yah I work for one of those software companies going subscription)
        /Rob

        1. “Perpetual license” is commonly misconstrued as ownership, the morality of which is a topic for another discussion. However, the key difference is that with expiring licenses, you are locked out of your own data once you stop paying. This should be accompanied by a MUCH lower recurring price, than the prior one-time fee.

          1. The problem with “tools of creation” is not the cost of the tool.
            The investment in time creating product in the software vastly exceeds the cost of the software. Compound that investment by creating scripts/ULPs/CAM jobs/Libraries/etc. All of which are locked up in a proprietary format…
            Add a license model with a self-destruct code… You are now being held hostage by the vendors of your design software. “Pay us, or all your investment is unusable.”

            I don’t see a distinction between this business model and that of ransomware.

            Well, actually, I can mitigate my risk of ransomware with better antivirus and regular backups.

  2. Don’t forget the free and open source gEDA ecosystem.

    gschem, the gEDA schematic layout tool, is able to generate netlists for export to not just gEDA pcb/pcb-rnd, but also other layout editors, including KiCad.

    gEDA pcb and the fork pcb-rnd layout editors build quickly and easily from git head, and the pcb-rnd fork, which emphasizes portability, will even build on IRIX and run under motif.

    The pcb-rnd fork now allows export of layouts to KiCad, and importing of KiCad layouts, so there is little to lose in trying one of the FOSS EDA tools, like Kicad or gEDA pcb/pcb-rnd.

    The translate2geda utility hosted on github will convert Eagle XML footprint libraries to gEDA compatible symbols and footprints, allowing you to bring much of your existing library efforts with you. XML layout conversion is planned.

  3. Good thing I started learning KICAD. I was an ORCAD user and sorry but despite the great following for Eagle, I just never found it very intuitive. Unless Autodesk adds a lot of features, this subscription model is not going to keep that great user community support. Wonder what one of the big supporters, Adafruit, is going to do?

  4. Those subscription fees would be better spent on KiCad – for every 1000 or so companies willing to hand out $100 per year for a tool which has no artificial restrictions we can have 1 more full-time kicad programmer. One of the most difficult things with kicad development is that for the most part people have to do the work in their (rare) spare time. The $100pa subscription is so limited I’d imagine that most small companies would be pushed to $500pa – even if kicad had those companies paying $100pa we could make more improvements.

  5. LTSpice – The Next Shoe-to-Drop?
    358 Comments at my post time in this thread, and NO (Zero) reference to what’s going to happen to LTSpice?! Very Sad :-( I expected more from HaD readers. Is LTSpice the “Next Shoe to Drop” in this subject of freely available tools being Wrenched from our hands in favor of the “Cloud” (or worse, Cloud + Subscription). REMEMBER, Linear Technologies (owner/creator of LTSpice) was taken-over by Analog Devices Inc. (ADI) in July 2016 for 14.8 Billion USD. ADI in my many years of experience is NOT an EE Designer’s friend (forget “samples”, small qty. ADI eval. part purchase for real money isn’t really possible either, ADI’s large catalog is second-only to Maxim-Integrated in terms of Unobtanium in-reality, and locked-down very limited mostly Cloud-based sim/design tools)! I pray ADI leaves Linear alone when it comes to LTSpice. Still, I’m VERY worried that LTSpice is the next Shoe-to-Drop..

    1. I want to clarify one more thing about Linear’s LTSpice. I use it almost daily, and as my Thank You to Linear, I try to use their parts wherever possible. Why? It’s not just a fan-following, the models they provide are typically well vetted and if you have a bench vs. sim disparity, Linear is willing to work with you. LTSpice makes MONEY for Linear. ADI would be stupid to break that model. Actually ADI would HELP themselves by adding ADI’s parts to the LTSpice model library!

  6. Oh,

    So you guys opted for some non-free software years back, and wasted a lot of hours learning such a tool just to end up crying like kids?

    The sad thing is no matter how much or loud you complain, many of you will still pay either of the licenses while arguing (still) more non-sense.

    This guys are just using their profits to bend market share into their pockets, as any clever person would do knowing there are plenty of monkeys like you out there.

    I’ve never used eagle just because it’s not free software, no matter how much their format would spread among fabs.

    I started with gpl-geda when it was practically unusable, but still with a more or less mature code-base, and at that time, basically the only one with mostly active user base.

    Thing that I could improve, thing that I sent patches for. Not that everyone else should or could do the same, but then again it’s not even needed providing (the expected) user base.

    Nowadays I can say I have workflow as solid as throughout the years there’s nothing I needed to be done that I couldn’t, and rest assured I’ve had every single strict requirement asked to me.

    It’s a real shame to see people complaining about democracy but then not exercising it in any aspect.

    In the case of free software, we can get all together and make new or refine existing standards for us, not for them.

    Instead it sill seems is much better to fork a project with a new name, or to reinvent the wheel just to try to get user base with financial prospects…

  7. Talked to autodesk today. They also are no longer honoring the coupons that were being sold by Adafruit and others. There were great bundle deals with a Raspberry PI + Eagle. If you have not activated that coupon, you need to return the product to the vendor and the vendor will work with Autodesk.

    1. Maybe it’s meant to appease some people but otherwise looks rather confused to me. The licensing model proposed is priced at 2/5 of MakePro but only provides 2/3 of the layers but is meant to be a better deal. Talk about comparing apples and oranges. The call-home requirement might seem benign to some, but if you can’t do work simply because you weren’t on the internet for 14 days is absurd; even Dassault doesn’t do that. It seems the license control scheme was created by someone who’s just finished Computers 101.

  8. I laughed when I found out that Autodesk bought Eagle. The reason was, they warned us back in 2015 that Inventor was going to the cloud and we would not own the software and it was going to be monthly and yada yada. We had been running Altium.

    Go to monster or any job board and see what they want for PCB designers. It isn’t eagle or any low cost software. Altium, Cadence, Pads and so on so if you are only a hobbyist, I feel your pain. But as someone that has been around since PCAD UNIX, I can tell you, the high end tools are high end for a reason.

    3D CAD intergration, Solidworks, Vault capabilities and so on. As a full time professional PCB designer I use Altium because nothing comes close price point wise. Eagle? Lol, it was always a hobby tool. Its like Stratasys buying a bunch of maker bots to get market share. Oh boo hoo. LOL. Get a real tool.

  9. Well, just like most people here, we will have to learn KiCAD. We do custom electronics development (mostly low volume for industrial clients) and recently upgraded all our licenses to Eagle Professional. I thought “that’s expensive”. I guess we’ll keep using our Eagle 7.x software for a few years more but will never move to any subscription software. It is too risky business-wise as for software that need to call home regularly, if the company disappears you no longer has an easy way to access your files in any meaningful way. (The same apply to proprietary software that is abandoned by their creators or when they go bankrupt, but to a lesser degree).
    We have evaluated KiCAD several times (and DipTrace too, because it works on Linux [it uses Wine]) and I feel KiCAD is almost ready (some of my coworkers think still needs lot of work but others agree with me). So I guess in a couple of years (or earlier) we will migrate to something else. We cannot migrate right now, because we have too many projects going on already using Eagle (and we will still use Eagle for ten or more years just to support those projects) but for new projects I’m sure we will start using something else.
    Or who knows… I still know people using Eagle v5.
    So, goodbye Eagle… I thought your interface was weird and your price too high… I will probably miss you.

    Regards, MV.

  10. My previous experience in Eagle was not good and now I don’t think I’ll go back to use it.
    I found a great online EDA tool https://easyeda.com/, including SCH and PCB editing, a huge library of symbols and components, project management and collaborative work. There’s also ngspice based simulation tool and a community forum. The use is very intuitive, and it’s for free – it only costs, if you order a finished PCB.
    I found this time using EasyEDA it was a much easier experience and the PCB that was manufactured was perfect. I am so happy with the software to design PCB.
    It has some pretty impressive import and export options such as importing Altium, Eagle and LTspice files and exporting spice netlists and svg, png and pdf files for documentation.
    So, it’s possible for EAGLE users to import their designs to EasyEDA. then edit them in EasyEDA.
    It would be nice to take a look at this one after the bad news from Autodesk Eagle.

  11. Actually, you never owned the software in the first place – you owned the license that you purchased to use the software. Still, subscription based software seems to be the future… a bleak future to be sure – even Microsoft Windows 10 is now a “service.” I switched to Linux and KiCad in December of 2016, though I find I still need Windows for some of my design software. Sure, I could run most of it under Wine/Mono, but why needlessly introduce Windows security risks to my Linux and BSD installations – A virtual machine in a sandbox does well for me. I have found learning KiCad to be very rewarding, the hierarchical functions create the most beautiful schematics and projects that I have ever seen. I do still have the free version of Eagle 4 installed. I use it to create equivalent Eagle Libraries of my KiCad libraries for my readers who use Eagle – the 4.0 libraries can be loaded into any later version of Eagle and then resaved for that version. I do this strictly as a service for my readers who use Eagle. KiCad is worth every step of the learning curve.

  12. Well, just for grins, I’ll pitch in my response to the salesman. “So far you haven’t described a single new feature. I’ll stick with version 6 forever. Bye”

    Yeah, baby, kick ’em when they’re up, kick ’em when they’re down. Kick ’em in the nuts, kick ’em all around.

  13. We are happy with previously bought 10 seats of Eagle 6.50 but know that KiCad will work fine when it comes time. But we have too many products done with Eagle now to change. At least version 6 was just before the buyout and had LOTS of bugs fixed and features added since we started using Eagle 4 years ago. Used OrCad and PADS PCB/Logic for many years too. I heard good things about Diptrace too. As KiCad is progressing as well as I see, there’s no reason to buy a subscription or very expensive package from one of those big conglomerates. And when it does come time to change, KiCad can import Eagle files !
    One more good thing about open software (and Eagle) is that there is a very good user base where questions are usually quickly answered. The expensive software is terrible in comparison ! Ask a question and maybe a week later someone from that big company will give you an answer to your question “IF” they actually understand your question ! And I hate having to pay thousands of dollars per year for the privilege of asking that question. And as I remember, skipping a year of the support costs for that expensive software will sometimes require you to pay all the back-pay for the previous years of support in order to ask one stupid question ! Open source with good user base on forums is WAY better !

  14. Matt, you (and Autodesk) would get more value out of this forum by listening to users, seeking feedback, and looking for win-win solutions. For example, some options you might consider:

    1) Create a useful intermediate-level subscription. The standard license is worthless to any real user because the PCB size restriction (4″x6″) is unreasonably small, even for hobby users. If it supported larger boards (e.g. up to 8×10″), it would be more than a toy.

    2) Eliminate the automatic loss of license for Eagle 6/7 users if they try/subscribe to Eagle 8/9. There is zero chance I’ll subscribe if it means I lose my existing software purchase. What if I don’t like 8/9 or don’t find sufficient incremental value to justify the subscription? I’m screwed at that point…I think many of the users on this forum share the same sentiment.

    3) Consider models that generate both purchase and subscription revenue. I don’t mind purchasing software *and* paying an annual subscription to receive updates…as long as I own that software and can choose not to purchase updates going forward. I don’t want to be entirely at Autodesk’s mercy to be able to access my existing projects; what if Autodesk suddenly raised the subscription to $1K/month or just dropped the product? I’m sure Autodesk is a wonderful company, but most of us are old enough to have seen even bigger companies unceremoniously drop unprofitable products, leaving users scrambling and/or stranded.

    I think Eagle (since version 6.x) has been an outstanding product and I hope you’ll find a way to keep it alive and the user base growing. I’m concerned that the model Autodesk has chosen may alienate the majority of the existing Eagle user base and that this will ultimately result in the product’s demise. I wish you luck finding a solution that works for both Autodesk and the user base!

  15. After 15 years of CadSoft Eagle – I’m gone. Autodesk you ruined it. The licensing regime is ridiculous and overpriced for essentially the same product. Altium here I come!!!
    Living in a rural area with limited access to broadband – the licensing system just doesn’t work.
    Complaining to Autodesk I find myself conversing with some ‘angry’ person in India, who tells me that I live in the West and therefore have the money to get better broadband. As well as afford the new higher licensing fees. Really?

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