Perpetual vs. Subscription License

Hello all. I searched for a topic related to this and didn’t find any post. I manage the SketchUp licenses for my organization and we are looking to add a license for a new user. When I inquired about this I was told there is now a subscription license that is available vs. the perpetual licenses I currently own. Personally I don’t see any benefits for my organization or users by purchasing a subscription license vs. perpetual (with maintenance) since we don’t use cloud storage or VR viewers, and the subscription license will cost my organization more down the road. Are there any other benefits that I should be aware of regarding subscription licensing? Will perpetual licensing be eliminated in the future?


A lot of the conversation regarding this subject is covered in the following thread—which I’ll link to as a point of reference in case you haven’t already seen it.

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buried in one of the other threads was this comparison from @jbarcus

it ‘should’ be on the website or at least made a ‘sticky’ here as it is so deeply buried I couldn’t find the link right now…



That has been unclear. One SketchUp team member posted (a month or so ago) that yes, it would be eliminated at some undecided future date. Shortly after that posting, another SketchUp team member posted to the effect that no, there are no plans to eliminate the option of a perpetual or “classic” license.

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To all,



This type requires a fee to be paid over a set period. The duration can vary from a week to a year & expires once that time has run & typically the software won’t work anymore unless renewed. I’ve never been comfortable on this form of license, as you effectively just rent it & never own it. RANSOMWARE is a phrase I’ve seen, harsh but fitting at the same time.


This type is a non-expiring license, the customer has no obligation to pay for support or update services & can use the software forever. The software cost is initially greater than subscription-based licenses & was the traditional/classic way you purchased software prior to subscription-based licenses.

NB: Adding teasers (software extras) for one form over the other, subscription in this example is just in poor taste & not PC in a companies standing.

Both have Po’s & Con’s & I can see the subscription-based licenses are now within the grasp of small businesses or individuals where the initial outlay for high end expensive software on a perpetual license may not have been in reach. However, that’s only the case where fees of this type of plan would be very low & at least taking 5 years+ in total fees for the equivalent outright purchase & actual ownership. Shorter terms would be money down the drain & wouldn’t make sense in my opinion.

If may be more PC for companies to offer outright ownership (PERPETUAL LICENSE) after the subscription term has run that adds up to the product value. This direction would recognise loyal users who are likely to stay onboard for the duration.

Under the traditional license route, the purchase price is clearly understood & an indicator of its value. However, under the subscription-based direction, the value of the product isn’t always clear if this is the only form of licence.

Its natural for anyone to put a value on a product even if not advertised. We can all judge were a particular product ranks in value & therefore as time goes by under the subscription-based licence, technically at some point the product would have been paid for in full & then some after this point.


A perpetual long-term payment plan (interest fee) is another thought. Say spread the costs over 12 months, that would resolve the above two plans & be more inclusive to smaller practices & individuals & instil a loyal user base.

To @CJT1963:

You never own the software, you only own or rent the right to use it.

This may sound nittypicking, but it is, in fact, were it all boils down to.

The EULA only speaks in terms of ‘Use’

It might be a little different here in the EU.

I think it is good to clarify things.

Trimble owns the software. Users purchase a license which entitles them to use the software for a period of time based on the type of license. Users do not purchase the software.

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Trimble sell/sold the “perpetual licence” so whilst it may not be yours they have already granted you use of the software in perpetuity. Of course, eventually operating system and hardware upgrades will render it unusable if constant updates are not released.

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property vs. possession.

In the EU licensees are allowed to sell a software license if it’s a physical product, i.e. not a license bought as electronic software distribution as e.g. SU.

yes, a constant cashflow for Trimble. :kissing_smiling_eyes:

But keep in mind, that software makers need to earn some money for their living too…

And in the process, continue to improve the product. That being said, I purchased the perpetual (classic) pro license + annual maintenance pkg instead.

Sorry to see the Perpetual licence be removed this year. The whole point of perpetual with maintenance works for me - I did that with AutoDesk paid £000s for software only for them to go to subscription-ONLY a couple of years back and they raised the price of anyone left on a maintenance plan - effectively forcing you over. At the time I then looked at other CAD software and gave AutoDesk the boot. A few years later Sketchup are going the same route - arghhhh. My maintenance expires in December. I’m going to keep my perpetual licence and continue any updates up to that date. I’m not going to take the subscription offer up and will keep my perpetual licence going for as long as possible. If 3-5 years down the line I need an upgrade (that’s if I begin to work with others more - which I don’t do at the mo) then I’ll review including whether Sketchup is still the right solution for me. I guess others may do the same - and Sketchup will lose an awful lot of maintenance monies over the next few years - poor decision !