I’ve been using SU since it’s inception in the 1990s. I’ve lived through the founder, Google and Trmble eras.
I am primarily a hobbyist. I use the product seriously about once per month. I don’t use it commercially. When the free version became bare bones with no access to the vast world of add-ins and extensions, it became fundamentatlly useless to me. I had my free client version of SU 2017 that was full-function, but it got clunky and no longer supported. I bit the bullet and bought the Pro subscription last year.
I am 77 years old. I’ve been retired for a dozen years on fixed income. Paying hundreds of dollars for software that I use occasionally is difficult for me, but I cancelled a lot of magazine subscriptions and replaced their cost with SU Pro 2023.
Then I get this Trimble notice this week that Pro is going up from $237 a year to $346 a year! I don’t have any more magazine subscriptions to cancel to pay for this. What in the world can justify a 32% price increase. Yeah… sure! There’s inflation, but not 32% inflation! Furthermore, most of the heavy lifting developing SU was done a long time ago. Those costs are sunk. I don’t know what Trimble paid Google for SU, and I guess they are desparate to repay their investment, but they’re driving the casual user, like me, out of their market.
There is competition that offer full-function, free versions. None of them are as intuitive as SU, and at my age, the thought of learning new software, only because my favorite software has priced themselves out of my reach, is not a happy thought. Fusion 360 does what SU does (an more), but it is more complicated and less comfortable for me. Blender is open-source and very powerful, especially for organic shapes (which SU is not), but the number of dialog boxes and variables you need to control is mind boggling and will take me a long time to master.
I wish they could have a Pro version for the casual user that’s priced somewhere between free and $347. As it stands now, I have to look elsewhere, and that’s too bad. I’m a pretty advanced SU user and have contributed many models to the SU 3D Warehouse.