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PTC's licnese package changes over many years - how do you deal?


PTC's licnese package changes over many years - how do you deal?

Today we have Advance SE and Flex3c (both are no longer available) and Engineer 1 licensees (which we can no longer buy as we are not a direct customer today).

I call this a broken license pool because I have 3 separate groups of licenses for users to pull from. Worse yet, when I need to buy more, I will have a 4th separate pool because I have to buy Essentials now...which I have none of.

The only way to deal with this is with multiple and different startup configurations for most users in the company, at multiple facilities. It is very difficult to keep this organized and time consuming as well. And not just anyone can install Creo as very few even know what configurations are, much less would be consistent without a written procedure!

Why does PTC does not keep current maintenance customers up to date with their currently offered license packages? We get current and updated software...but not license packages. WHY?

Why not put us into the most current, closest matching, lowest tier option when changes are made to the license packages. Even a simple name change on PTC's end, changes everything if we are not kept up to date. Why are ALL ours out of sync with PTC right now as a customer on current maintenance?

I can tell you, PTC is the ONLY company we work with that operates in this manor. I administer Solidworks, NX, Solidedge, Keycreator, Delcam, and Autodesk Product Design Suite premium & ultimate. I have no such problems with any other CAD licenses and installations are so simple, they can be done by most users.

When Solidworks changes anything in their Standard, Professional, or Premium licenses follow suit and I hardly notice.

When Autodesk changed their Product Design Suite around a couple years ago and added Ultimate...all our licenses were automatically updated to follow suite. Our Premium seats became Ultimate and our standard seats became Premium. They kept us in perfect sync with Autodesk's currently offered license packages.

PTC's fix? Obsolete what we own and buy all new.

For those who have been with PTC a long time, you must be in the same situation. How are you dealing with this? Has PTC done anything to help?

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Not one response? I wonder if I did not describe the issue clear enough. We are by far not the only company dealing with this.

Your description was completely clear. All that can be done is to negotiate replacing the licenses you have with entirely new ones at maintenance renewal. Since you are probably a small site (under 1000 seats) you are out of luck without much leverage. I think a few companies drop maintenance and then buy new licenses every 3-5 years. I would not be surprised if a number of companies never upgrade and don't keep maintenance due to the hassles.

I thought you got good answers over on MCAD Central.  There really isn't anything you can do but negotiate at maintenance renewal to consolidate your seats into the new packages.  PTC is going to want a fee to do so because they consider it an upgrade.

If you're buying new seats, you'll have more leverage.  If you get off maintenance for 12 months or longer, you'll have even more leverage.  That said, PTC was threatening to get more strict on handling folks who were off for some time, giving fewer renewal options than in the past.  I have no idea if they've followed through on that or not.

Doug Schaefer | Experienced Mechanical Design Engineer

Be aware that lapsed subscriptions also went up to back-pay in full, just like Dassault Systems did on SolidWorks.

The reply from my VAR was in part as follows:

Hi Tom,

You are currently active on your perpetual license, and there is not currently a program to trade in active licenses, only inactive licenses. I can let you know the details when that program becomes an option.


For inactive customers to trade in perpetual licensing:

50% off reactivation/ trade in program.


                1-2 years off = 1.5  x maintenance


                3-4 years off=


                5-6 years off=


Then 25% off subscription licensing until they break the contract.


I think for right now it would be better to stay on the perpetual license and keep the maintenance active as they now require all of the back maintenance to reactivate.


Because making it increasingly more expensive to renew is the perfect recipe to win back customers.

Doug Schaefer | Experienced Mechanical Design Engineer

Yeah I saw more responses elsewhere and I expected more here than there to be honest, as well as capturing more views for those that do not read both on any given week. Like me.

Everyone is correct and my questions and concerns are clearly understood by respondents. 

I'm left feeling puzzled and baffled how PTC gets away with this and why it continues. It's not right.

Regarding back maintenance...if you are off for an extended period they cannot possibly back charge you unless you are trying to renew...which you would not/should not be. Consider yourself a new customer if you've been off maintenance for an extended period...buying new license packages and extensions. Your old ones will fade away. This is what was proposed to us from our VAR with PTC directly involved. So don't get fooled.

But also don't be fooled into doing it...there is a significant ROI calculations to make and also risk PTC puts you into subscriptions if you fall off everyone else is doing EXCEPT Solidworks. Subscriptions are were the long term money is at for OEM's, not savings for the customer.

Maintenance is calculated at 20% of a new seat, as I understand. So, unless you are off for 5 years or more, it's cheaper to renew, even if they do require payment back to day one.

I suspect and hope that they will back off this hard line stance at some point, but perhaps not.  I think they tried this in the past and gave up on it because customers wouldn't play along.  That was before the subscription model was available and popular, however.  The environment is now more favorable for them to hold the line on this.

A subscription model makes no sense long term.  It's more costly and if you decide to stop paying, you've got nothing.  If I own a seat, I can stop paying maintenance and keep running that version for as long as can get hardware and an OS that'll allow it to run.

Doug Schaefer | Experienced Mechanical Design Engineer

The subscription thing is nice in many ways and it may be the out I was looking for in maintenance.

I have Creo 3.0 and for me, Creo 2.0 is working much more efficiently specially in detailing efforts.  Should I expect anything good from Creo 4.0?  I'd be a fool... fool me once... twice... 5 times over in the past 25 years.  At the moment, Creo isn't earning me anything and SolidWorks is putting dinner on the table.

My business model said I would have the latest and greatest software available in case a client needs a specific version.  In 15 years, only one client ever cared, and in the last 5 years, no one cared.

With the subscription model, if a potential client requires a newer version, it will be a line item on my quotation.  Between now and the time I retire, this should save me in the neighborhood of $10K.

The subscription model is just the ticket a lot of smaller companies need to get into Creo.  I do see this as a win for PTC and companies that cannot afford an outright license and the perpetual extortion that comes with it.

We're getting slightly off topic, but yet its still very much related.

You may want to read up about PTC's subscription policy.

Don't listen to what anyone tells you verbally or even via email....believe only the black and white formal policy.

Most importantly, you cannot turn on and off what you need or don't need. You can buy as needed on demand, but you're stuck with them for the remainder of the year. PTC is not alone in this...its actually a common misconception you can simply flip a switch and pay per day or month. Nope...its not.

It doesn't matter if you're big or small, have 2 seats or 2000, subscription costs more if unless you can effectively "unsubscribe" to what you don't need beyond 1 year.

Check it out. If you find something different in writing from PTC...I'd love to read it.

You've already revealed more than my VAR is willing to.  Apparently it is either not fully ironed out between PTC and VARs, or my VAR is holding back.

23-Emerald II

For us, the subscription model is a no-go. My systems are not on the internet so they cannot get to PTC's server for a license.

I have the same issue with tech support when they ask for a web-ex session.

Putting all of this data out across the internet has to be hitting someone's response time for this or other things.

I have 10 licenses that are currently not on maintenance and 10 that were just renewed today for another year.

They are all Flex3c but we dropped maintenance at different times as 2 are limited to WF5, 8 limited to Creo2 and the 10 active can run Creo3.

You need to carefully weigh the options of what it will cost to put licenses back on maintenance before you actually drop them. In our case, we do not foresee a turn around for 3-5 years, if then, so we would mostly likely buy new licenses at that time as the back maintenance would exceed the cost of the purchase. (Unless PTC cuts us a favorable deal.)


I hope that subscription model means that you will receive time limited license instead of current perpetual one. I do not think that you need permanent connection to PTC server to be able to work with Creo under subscription model.


Martin Hanák
23-Emerald II

I hope someone from PTC can clarify this point.

A 1 year subscription model is not what is needed by most. What they need is a 2, 3, 6 month subscription for an extra seat when the crunch is on to get a design finished and the company brings in a some contractors to meet the work demands.

I have given them that same feedback. 

23-Emerald IV

Totally agree!!!!  There's no technical reason they can't send you a time limited license for whatever duration you choose.  (Even 1 day!).  The question for PTC is, does it make business sense...

I have something I'm working on right now where I could really, really use one particular Creo extension.  If they offered it by the month (or even week), I'd buy it in a heartbeat, but there is no way I'm paying for a whole year.  It's simply too expensive and won't get used enough to justify the duration. 

How do we deal?


I have to agree with most of the comments. It feels like extortion. I am a single seat operator. I purchased it in 1998. I used pro/e because my primary client used it. I retired two years ago. But I love to design so I have kept up my maintenance. I have also found that Creo3.0 is not too popular in the freelance world. That seem to be solidworks. You have convince me that I should not pay my fees next year.

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