The trend across the software industry is subscription rather than license. Autodesk didn’t pioneer the model, but has pretty much moved there, and not always in the most client-friendly way.
It is a business. I understand that. They became who they are not by having the best product, but by building client base, in large part by giving it away cheap (and free) to students. It looks good, but also brings a cadre of people into the workplace that know Autocad well, and reject other products. This has been part of their model since the early 1990’s, and works well for them. It has always been a way of pushing the product ahead of other commercial options, as well as the free ones.
Back in the day, in conventional CAD, I much preferred CadKey. It had a better user interface, better programming interface, and didn’t crash. As parametric modellers came in, Alibre could have owned the market with a very capable tool, but AD bought Inventor, and Alibre screwed their users (I had a quite expensive license that they invalidated due when a new version was released…) after a strong start across the market from hobbyists to professional.
Now, we are looking at an industry with few sources (AD, Rhino, Solidworks being the big players, AD being the biggest, based on what comes over my desk. I know this is not an exhaustive list), and the rent-seeking model that has taken over.
It is what it is.
Adobe just showed what the end result is likely to be (Venezuela… We’ll take your money, but not give you the product, and no refund. I have questions about their justification, but am not a lawyer. I have read the relevant orders and regulation, as one of the companies I work for does business that is affected) across the industry.
What I really do not like is tying Fusion to their cloud service, and the conditions around them changing the terms. The ownership of the product (edit: user generated content) is something I have not looked at in this case, but others in the industry have rather feudal terms. I have the same concerns with OnShape (they singed their users several years ago…).
Based on where I am career-wise right now, I use what I must, though I do not love everything about the software or the suppliers. If my clients use AD products, then I must as well. If AD gives it away for free to students, and that is what my institution has a contract for, and SolidWorks doesn’t, then that is what I use for teaching. I don’t have to love everything about the product.
I do refuse to teach with Fusion, though (I use Inventor there). It is still too damn slow, and still crashes too much. It is getting there, but, in my opinion, there is a better option in that case.