The price you pay for CAD software depends on several factors, including these:
- The country in which you purchase the software (USA workers get the baseline price, with customers in nearly every other country paying as much as double)
- Educational status (students and teachers routinely get the software free; other occupations do not -- except for software reviewers)
- The status of your company (networked licenses cost less; bulk licenses cost less)
- Whether you are part of a target market (I hear cases of software being seeded, given away free to specific customer in specific cities of specific disciplines; in addition, there are competitive upgrades to lure away customers, and so on)
This is why most CAD vendors no longer list prices, but require you to contact one of their salesman. It's his job to customize the price to you -- meaning that for the same software you might pay more or you might pay less than your competitor. In the end, it seems that the only customers who pay full price are the least appreciated and hardest working ones: the self-employed.
Those CAD software vendors who like the cloud, like it because it allows them to know you in the biblical sense: personally and intimately. The Wall Street Journal this morning is reporting that vendors like Staples vary online pricing depending on the income they guess you have, as well as the distance of the location of your Web browser from competitors. You pay less when your Web browser is closer to a competitor and/or determines you might have a higher income from your geolocation or buying habits. (Remember folks, surf safe: turn on your Web browser's privacy miode.)
But the idea of an unbiased, impersonal Internet is fast giving way to an online world that, in reality, is increasingly tailored and targeted. Websites are adopting techniques to glean information about visitors to their sites, in real time, and then deliver different versions of the Web to different people.
Prices change, products get swapped out, wording is modified, and there is little way for the typical website user to spot it when it happens.
The cloud allows CAD vendors to do away with the salesman sharpening his pencil; like airline seat pricing, the price of your next CAD upgrade or subscription may well be biased -- er, dynamically adjusted -- in real-time.