Alibre Design Standard for $99

Alibre has done the unthinkable. They have knocked off a 9 (doesn’t matter which one) from the $999 Alibre Design Standard and are offerring it for $99. CEO Paul Grayson explains why on his blog titled “Alibre Challenges CAD Industry to Beat $99 Price Offer“. He writes, “We have decided to launch a massive ‘market share grab’ directly targeting the largest CAD software companies in their weakest spot, new seat sales of multi-thousand dollar design tools. High-end design tools have been ridiculously expensive for some time, but in this environment companies and individuals have become much more frugal.

This limited time offer is not a marketing gimmick. Here are some points worth noting.

  1. The Alibre Design Standard license that you can get for $99 is a permanent license. This is not a student or a not-for-commercial use license.
  2. The software has not been stripped down to limit its ability to be put into production use. There are no limitations on the number of parts in an assembly, file size, etc.
  3. It comes with all the feature based parametric modeling and 2D drawing capabilities that exist in Alibre Design Professional and Expert. It even comes with motion simulation and automatic BOM creation. As far as modeling abilities go, the only things missing are direct editing (push/pull modeling) and sheet metal modeling.
  4. Unlike AutoCAD LT and other lite versions of CAD software, Alibre Design Standard can load add-ons. So you can extend its features to further customize it to your specific needs.

Some are calling this a fire sale. Maybe it is. Frankly, if you are getting all of the above for $99, who cares?

As Paul writes in his blog post, Alibre is not going after existing 3D CAD users with this $99 offer. I don’t believe Alibre thinks that existing SolidWorks, Solid Edge and Inventor users would switch to Alibre Design, and that too Standard, although some who are hurting real bad maybe tempted to try. Moreover, existing 3D CAD users wanting to buy more seats are probably not going to add a totally different CAD system and end up adding data exchange to their list of existing problems. They may simply prefer to wait it out till the economic situation improves. I believe this $99 offer is directed squarely at 2D CAD users. I guess Autodesk should be more worried than most others since this can affect their new sales of Inventor and existing subscriptions of AutoCAD. Come to think of it, developers of AutoCAD clones may have a reason to get worried as well ($99 is far lesser than even an AutoCAD clone). Especially since Alibre Design Standard can using existing DWG and DXF files as the basis for creating 3D parts.I believe that now is as good a time to consider whether Alibre Design Standard fits into your workflow.

Having said all of the above, it is also worth noting that this $99 offer poses a serious problem for CAD software resellers. Franco Follini of NOVEDGE, one of North America’s largest CAD software resellers, calls Alibre’s $99 offer a “bad idea”. He tweeted, “Alibre for $99 is sending a message that Alibre is desperate. Nobody is going to invest to sell a $99 CAD system.” I guess what Franco is saying for all their effort the margin for resellers would be next to nothing. I believe its resellers are the least of Alibre’s problems. They have other people to pay first. Companies like Spatial for licensing their ACIS modeling kernel, Siemens for licensing their D-CUBED constraint system and a few others. I don’t think Alibre is trying to make a lot of money here. At $99 a seat you just cannot. As Paul says, this is all about grabbing market share and then I guess they will decide how to milk it later.

Apart from this $99 offer being a bad idea for resellers, it is also not a very good idea for third party developers like SYCODE. Our Alibre Design add-ons are priced at $195. I have decided to lower them to $95 for the duration of Alibre’s $99 offer. If Alibre can knock off a 9 from $999, I guess I can knock off the 1 from $195. But no matter how much I try, I just cannot bring myself to knock off the 9.

  • http://blog.novedge.com/ Franco Folini

    Deelip, your blog post is taking my words out of contest, distorting my opinion. Let me clarify my position about Alibre decision.

    The lower end of the CAD market (below $100) is very busy with a lot of competitors, and aggressive promotions running al the time. From my experience it’s not an easy segment where to sell a CAD system. It can be difficult to do business in this segment for resellers such as Novedge, unless the product generates huge volumes or quickly push for upgrades to higher versions.
    I like Alibre Standard. It’s a great 3D product delivering a great value to the end user. In my opinion it fully deserves every single dollar of the old $799 price. That’s the reason I didn’t expect Alibre decision of lowering Alibre Standard price to only $99.
    I believe the price change is intended to shake the current very slow CAD market forcing people to question the price of mid-range CAD system and placing Alibre products under the spotlight. Personally, I don’t see this as a sales decision, but as a marketing decision. In those difficult economic times we are all desperately trying to revive a very slow CAD market and I’m glad Alibre is willing to experiment outside their comfort zone.

    Please note this is my personal opinion, not Novedge official position.

  • http://blog.novedge.com Franco Folini

    Deelip, your blog post is taking my words out of contest, distorting my opinion. Let me clarify my position about Alibre decision.

    The lower end of the CAD market (below $100) is very busy with a lot of competitors, and aggressive promotions running al the time. From my experience it’s not an easy segment where to sell a CAD system. It can be difficult to do business in this segment for resellers such as Novedge, unless the product generates huge volumes or quickly push for upgrades to higher versions.
    I like Alibre Standard. It’s a great 3D product delivering a great value to the end user. In my opinion it fully deserves every single dollar of the old $799 price. That’s the reason I didn’t expect Alibre decision of lowering Alibre Standard price to only $99.
    I believe the price change is intended to shake the current very slow CAD market forcing people to question the price of mid-range CAD system and placing Alibre products under the spotlight. Personally, I don’t see this as a sales decision, but as a marketing decision. In those difficult economic times we are all desperately trying to revive a very slow CAD market and I’m glad Alibre is willing to experiment outside their comfort zone.

    Please note this is my personal opinion, not Novedge official position.

  • http://www.deelip.com/ Deelip Menezes

    Franco,

    Hello No!! What you said makes perfect sense. As a plug-in developer I think this is a bad idea. I just slashed my prices in half, and I didn’t enjoy doing that. I can only imagine what resellers would be going through.

    I fully agree with you when you say that Alibre Design Standard is worth every dollar of the old $999 price (in your case $799). I also agree that this is a marketing decision, not a sales one. I guess Alibre would agree as well.

    While this $99 offer may not be a good for resellers and add-on developers, it is a very good thing for users, and that was precisely the point that I was trying to make when I said that now was as good a time to check if Alibre Design Standard fits into a user’s workflow.

    As a plug-in developer I can only hope that this offer goes away as soon as possible. I am sure resellers feel the same way, and your tweet only echos that. But the bright side is that if this offer does stir things up then it may mean that in the future resellers will have more people to sell upgrades to and add-on developers will have more people to sell add-ons to.

    In the short term Alibre’s $99 offer seems like a horrible idea to resellers and developers, but it may turn out to be a good thing in the long run.

  • http://www.deelip.com Deelip Menezes

    Franco,

    Hello No!! What you said makes perfect sense. As a plug-in developer I think this is a bad idea. I just slashed my prices in half, and I didn’t enjoy doing that. I can only imagine what resellers would be going through.

    I fully agree with you when you say that Alibre Design Standard is worth every dollar of the old $999 price (in your case $799). I also agree that this is a marketing decision, not a sales one. I guess Alibre would agree as well.

    While this $99 offer may not be a good for resellers and add-on developers, it is a very good thing for users, and that was precisely the point that I was trying to make when I said that now was as good a time to check if Alibre Design Standard fits into a user’s workflow.

    As a plug-in developer I can only hope that this offer goes away as soon as possible. I am sure resellers feel the same way, and your tweet only echos that. But the bright side is that if this offer does stir things up then it may mean that in the future resellers will have more people to sell upgrades to and add-on developers will have more people to sell add-ons to.

    In the short term Alibre’s $99 offer seems like a horrible idea to resellers and developers, but it may turn out to be a good thing in the long run.

  • Tony

    I think it’s also a plan by Alibre to get Design Xpress customers to send some cash to Texas. Alibre recently has been steadily reducing Xpress’ capabilities (down to 5 parts per assembly, no STEP or IGES import which makes Xpress useless for me, etc). But at $99, it’s a no brainer for me to upgrade; at $999, it’s a no brainer for me to look elsewhere (I don’t need MCAD that much).

    Another sticky issue coming up: what about maintenance pricing? At $99, customers won’t be happy (or willing) to pay $295 or more per year for maintenance. Well, there is Texas Instruments’ curious pricing of Code Composer Studio (CCS) for the TI C2xxx DSPs: it’s $495 IIRC and the yearly maintenance is about the same.

    There have been similar deals; last fall TI offered the full CCS for about 70% off, and this summer, PTC was offering CoCreate PE users full CoCreate for up to 85% off (limited to about 1000 seats, I think).

    I do think Alibre needs to rethink the price vs capabilities; at $99, it’s a great deal for potential customers, but reduced capabilities are probably more appropriate. BTW, note that Microsoft seems to do fine offering a range of development tools (Visual Studio) from free (VS Express Edition) to about $10K per seat.

  • Tony

    I think it’s also a plan by Alibre to get Design Xpress customers to send some cash to Texas. Alibre recently has been steadily reducing Xpress’ capabilities (down to 5 parts per assembly, no STEP or IGES import which makes Xpress useless for me, etc). But at $99, it’s a no brainer for me to upgrade; at $999, it’s a no brainer for me to look elsewhere (I don’t need MCAD that much).

    Another sticky issue coming up: what about maintenance pricing? At $99, customers won’t be happy (or willing) to pay $295 or more per year for maintenance. Well, there is Texas Instruments’ curious pricing of Code Composer Studio (CCS) for the TI C2xxx DSPs: it’s $495 IIRC and the yearly maintenance is about the same.

    There have been similar deals; last fall TI offered the full CCS for about 70% off, and this summer, PTC was offering CoCreate PE users full CoCreate for up to 85% off (limited to about 1000 seats, I think).

    I do think Alibre needs to rethink the price vs capabilities; at $99, it’s a great deal for potential customers, but reduced capabilities are probably more appropriate. BTW, note that Microsoft seems to do fine offering a range of development tools (Visual Studio) from free (VS Express Edition) to about $10K per seat.

  • http://www.deelip.com/ Deelip Menezes

    Tony,

    You make a good point about giving the users of the free Alibre Design Express to upgrade.

  • http://www.deelip.com Deelip Menezes

    Tony,

    You make a good point about giving the users of the free Alibre Design Express to upgrade.

  • Tony

    Alibre is keeping the support pricing the same; Design Standard is $99; Design Standard with 1 year support and upgrades (to V12) is $398, which is considerably more, but still a very good deal (compared to say $1298).

    –Tony

  • Tony

    Alibre is keeping the support pricing the same; Design Standard is $99; Design Standard with 1 year support and upgrades (to V12) is $398, which is considerably more, but still a very good deal (compared to say $1298).

    –Tony

  • http://www.alibre.com/ Max Freeman

    I think there may be some general confusion about what we’re doing and why, so let me clarify.

    We are not permanently lowering the price to $99. In fact, quite the opposite – this clearly is a promotion that is not feasible to go on forever, which is why we suggest people take advantage of it as soon as possible (obviously).

    To say we are “competing in the $99 CAD space” just isn’t the case. We have no intention of competing with $99 CAD programs any more than we have the intention of permanently lowering the price. We are giving people that have serious CAD needs a one time option of getting a serious CAD program for an unheard of price. Let us be clear, we are most definitely competing with the mid-rangers. People are taking a serious look right now at whether or not the mid-range products are worth the price, especially when the price disparity is…this much.

    I think the $99 promotion is one of the best things that could happen to add-on developers. Ignore this month – what about next month, when there’s a lot of new blood using Alibre Design with file translation needs? Deelip, are you trying to say that thousands of new users is going to be a bad thing for your business?

    People aren’t getting a $99 CAD program, and we think they know that. We aren’t discounting our maintenance based on that premise. This is an amazing deal on the CAD software itself. If you want other items, like maintenance, it’s full price. And it can’t be argued that this is anything but more than fair given what the customer is getting for his or her dollar.

    Granted if we’re talking about a bunch of people buying Alibre Design at $99 that have no real interest in CAD software and no need for it, that’s one thing. But from what we’ve seen so far, that’s just not what’s happening. Inside of one day, we’ve spoken to tons of engineers with real engineering needs, and the only thing standing in their way was the fact that they were broke or couldn’t get a big budget approval – but they can afford this. And now they have CAD software they can use for their business. The customer wins from the price, yourself and other add-on developers end up winning from increased demand for your products, and we win by attracting a lot of new customers. Can’t beat it with a stick.

    Max Freeman
    VP Marketing
    Alibre, Inc.

  • http://www.alibre.com Max Freeman

    I think there may be some general confusion about what we’re doing and why, so let me clarify.

    We are not permanently lowering the price to $99. In fact, quite the opposite – this clearly is a promotion that is not feasible to go on forever, which is why we suggest people take advantage of it as soon as possible (obviously).

    To say we are “competing in the $99 CAD space” just isn’t the case. We have no intention of competing with $99 CAD programs any more than we have the intention of permanently lowering the price. We are giving people that have serious CAD needs a one time option of getting a serious CAD program for an unheard of price. Let us be clear, we are most definitely competing with the mid-rangers. People are taking a serious look right now at whether or not the mid-range products are worth the price, especially when the price disparity is…this much.

    I think the $99 promotion is one of the best things that could happen to add-on developers. Ignore this month – what about next month, when there’s a lot of new blood using Alibre Design with file translation needs? Deelip, are you trying to say that thousands of new users is going to be a bad thing for your business?

    People aren’t getting a $99 CAD program, and we think they know that. We aren’t discounting our maintenance based on that premise. This is an amazing deal on the CAD software itself. If you want other items, like maintenance, it’s full price. And it can’t be argued that this is anything but more than fair given what the customer is getting for his or her dollar.

    Granted if we’re talking about a bunch of people buying Alibre Design at $99 that have no real interest in CAD software and no need for it, that’s one thing. But from what we’ve seen so far, that’s just not what’s happening. Inside of one day, we’ve spoken to tons of engineers with real engineering needs, and the only thing standing in their way was the fact that they were broke or couldn’t get a big budget approval – but they can afford this. And now they have CAD software they can use for their business. The customer wins from the price, yourself and other add-on developers end up winning from increased demand for your products, and we win by attracting a lot of new customers. Can’t beat it with a stick.

    Max Freeman
    VP Marketing
    Alibre, Inc.

  • http://www.deelip.com/ Deelip Menezes

    Max: “Deelip, are you trying to say that thousands of new users is going to be a bad thing for your business?”

    Not at all. Like I replied to Franco’s comment above, “But the bright side is that if this offer does stir things up then it may mean that in the future resellers will have more people to sell upgrades to and add-on developers will have more people to sell add-ons to.”

    A wild promotion like this one is bound to create the kind of confusion that it has and its a good thing that you have taken the trouble to clarify.

  • http://www.deelip.com Deelip Menezes

    Max: “Deelip, are you trying to say that thousands of new users is going to be a bad thing for your business?”

    Not at all. Like I replied to Franco’s comment above, “But the bright side is that if this offer does stir things up then it may mean that in the future resellers will have more people to sell upgrades to and add-on developers will have more people to sell add-ons to.”

    A wild promotion like this one is bound to create the kind of confusion that it has and its a good thing that you have taken the trouble to clarify.

  • Matthew Short

    Deelip,

    Why are you discounting the cost of your plug-ins?

    The Big 3 offer incentives all the time, but part resellers, mechanics, etc. don’t drop the price of their services.

    You have your overhead. It’s the only thing that should be driving the price that you sell your product at. If Alibre drops the price from $99 to $10 are you going to drop yours from $95 to $5? No, you would probably just say forget and give up. However, there is market share for what you create and a price that people will pay for it.

    It seems you just arbitrarily dropped your price for the heck of it. If I’m wrong, my apologies, but you could also look at this way– as a marketing tactic for you as well. Offer up your plugin discounted for version 11.2 (or whatever Alibre is) with a promise that the new version for Alibre 12 is around the corner.

  • Matthew Short

    Deelip,

    Why are you discounting the cost of your plug-ins?

    The Big 3 offer incentives all the time, but part resellers, mechanics, etc. don’t drop the price of their services.

    You have your overhead. It’s the only thing that should be driving the price that you sell your product at. If Alibre drops the price from $99 to $10 are you going to drop yours from $95 to $5? No, you would probably just say forget and give up. However, there is market share for what you create and a price that people will pay for it.

    It seems you just arbitrarily dropped your price for the heck of it. If I’m wrong, my apologies, but you could also look at this way– as a marketing tactic for you as well. Offer up your plugin discounted for version 11.2 (or whatever Alibre is) with a promise that the new version for Alibre 12 is around the corner.

  • http://www.deelip.com/ Deelip Menezes

    Actually, this is a pure case of simple mathematics. I am trying to figure out whether I am better off selling more for less as opposed to selling less for more. So far, the “more for less” seems to be a better idea.

    This does appear to have a marketing twist to it. However, we offer free upgrades withing 30 days. So if someone purchases a V11 add-on from us now he would not need to purchase an upgrade from us when V12 is launched.

    You are right. Our overheads remain the same and we need to get the money to fund them as well as future development, one way or the other. I am simply trying to determine the best way of doing that. This is more like an experiment.

  • http://www.deelip.com Deelip Menezes

    Actually, this is a pure case of simple mathematics. I am trying to figure out whether I am better off selling more for less as opposed to selling less for more. So far, the “more for less” seems to be a better idea.

    This does appear to have a marketing twist to it. However, we offer free upgrades withing 30 days. So if someone purchases a V11 add-on from us now he would not need to purchase an upgrade from us when V12 is launched.

    You are right. Our overheads remain the same and we need to get the money to fund them as well as future development, one way or the other. I am simply trying to determine the best way of doing that. This is more like an experiment.

  • Joseph

    As a casual CAD’der, I’ve been buying TurboCAD upgrades since V10 days — and I have to say that this $99 offer was too good to pass up.

    I haven’t fully cast my vote yet, but my initial impression of the software, plus the support response that I had to installation issues has made me seriously consider getting on maintenance and at least go to V12 — and perhaps even take the additional step to upgrading to Pro…

  • Joseph

    As a casual CAD’der, I’ve been buying TurboCAD upgrades since V10 days — and I have to say that this $99 offer was too good to pass up.

    I haven’t fully cast my vote yet, but my initial impression of the software, plus the support response that I had to installation issues has made me seriously consider getting on maintenance and at least go to V12 — and perhaps even take the additional step to upgrading to Pro…

  • Ese

    Well it’s 95€. You get a bucket full of problems to! Alibre is in my opinion not ready for the big-fish yet, or even the middle-size, the program has to many problems, and worst of all, is that you the customer have to pay for the fixes. where is the world going? It really pays-of to make a buggy program to day!

  • Ese

    Well it’s 95€. You get a bucket full of problems to! Alibre is in my opinion not ready for the big-fish yet, or even the middle-size, the program has to many problems, and worst of all, is that you the customer have to pay for the fixes. where is the world going? It really pays-of to make a buggy program to day!

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