Software as a service (SaaS) is all the rage, but this is nothing new for Autodesk. Solutions like Buzzsaw, Constructware, and Streamline have been offered as a service for years.
Way back in 1996 I was working with Sprint on what they were doing with DWF. Sprint provided long distance service at the time. Whereas local phone calls were based on an "all you care to use for one low price," long distance calls were still being billed at "so many cents per minute." We take this for granted now, but at the time, the industry was only beginning to move to an "all you care to use for one low price" for long distance service. I teased the guys at Sprint that their business model had been ruined and that they would have to adopt an "all you can eat" pricing approach much like those buffets that Las Vegas hotels offer. Visionaries that they were, they retorted: Right now people buy software and are free to use it as much or as little as they like, "all you can eat," once they have purchased it - often at full price. In the future, software will move to a "pay based on usage" model. As far back as 1996, Sprint believed that our industries, software and long distance communication, would eventually swap pricing models.
Today "all you can eat" long distance calling is common. There are even new technologies like Voice Over IP. When the telephone was first coming to market, the telegraph companies had several opportunities to embrace this technology and make it part of their product portfolios. Each time they passed. The telegraph companies did not consider the telephone their business. They were in the business of transmitting messages via dots and dashes. Their primary customers were other businesses. They did not expect that everyday people would actually want to talk. At Autodesk, like other companies, we're working to make sure the same thing doesn't happen in the software industry. So SaaS is just one of the ideas that's alive in the lab.