Bentley Opens 'You Deserve Better' Upgrade Site for AutoCAD Users Facing Forced Retirement of Their Software by Autodesk

EXTON, Pa.—(BUSINESS WIRE)—Dec. 6, 2004— Bentley Systems, Incorporated, today launched its "You Deserve Better" upgrade program and Web site for AutoCAD users facing forced retirement of their software by Autodesk.

The upgrade program, in response to Bentley's survey of more than 2,500 AutoCAD users, gives these users what they requested, plus a great deal more. The program includes:

-- MicroStation-based product functionality that meets or exceeds that of comparable AutoCAD offerings, including bonus features not found in AutoCAD products and a wider range of product and application choices

-- An open and universal solution compared to the AutoCAD offerings, including native support of DWG and DGN in all products, read and write support of DWG back to R11, and support of Adobe PDF

-- Upgrade pricing that meets or beats the Autodesk retirement pricing, including free viewers for DWG and DGN, multiple price points, and an estimated savings of 25 percent to 36 percent or more for design teams upgrading from AutoCAD 2000/i

-- An ongoing company policy against retiring file formats or user licenses, in contrast to the regular retirement practices of Autodesk

-- Special services and compatible functionality designed to make the upgrade fast and easy

Bentley chief marketing officer, Tony Flynn, comments, "In our survey of AutoCAD users, we heard many requests - the loudest being 'we want an open solution.' Users need their CAD products to natively support DWG, DGN, and PDF. And they need historical, non-retiring support of these formats. Clearly, an open solution would allow them to run their businesses without forced disruption and to engage in more projects."

Flynn adds, "Our 'You Deserve Better' program offers these users exactly what they asked for - an open, universal solution. Moreover, we believe that it offers users a far better set of products and services, as well as better, user-oriented policies that make them more competitive and put them in control of their software costs."

The program's product offerings are based on four Bentley products, in descending price:

-- MicroStation: the comprehensive 2D/3D design/engineering system that is the preferred choice of most U.S. DOTs, plant EPC firms, and the world's top design firms. It natively reads and writes DWG and DGN.

-- MicroStation PowerDraft: a midrange production drafting product, fully compatible with MicroStation. It natively reads and writes DWG and DGN.

-- MicroStation Redline: a low-cost viewing, printing, and redlining product for DGN/DWG-based drawings, models, or maps.

-- Bentley View: a free viewing and printing product for DWG/DGN-based drawings, models, or maps.

These products feature technology that meets or exceeds that found in AutoCAD offerings. Bonus features, not found in AutoCAD products, include support of both DWG and DGN, creation of Adobe PDFs for all project deliverables, change management, integrated surface/mesh/solid modeling, and customization for the drafting product.

Ironically, MicroStation supports the full history of DWG better than AutoCAD does. It reads and writes more versions of DWG than any supported AutoCAD product - back to R11 and everything in between. With the PDF feature, users can package and deliver an entire architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) project - including DWG and DGN drawings, specifications, and Microsoft Office files - into a single, interactive PDF document at the touch of a button.

Also in the bonus category, all of the above products and features are based on the single development platform of MicroStation, which allows users to maintain a single representation of their data and customizations. Autodesk products are now split across three development platforms: AutoCAD, Revit, and Inventor. This split forces organizations to maintain multiple representations of data and customizations if they own Autodesk products from different platforms - a move that Autodesk is encouraging for many.

A Wide Range of Vertical Choices

For users who require vertical applications or functionality, the upgrade program includes:

-- Power products: low-cost, stand-alone products based on MicroStation PowerDraft technology. These products include PowerCivil for land development and site modeling, PowerSurvey for survey data management, and PowerMap for production mapping.

-- MicroStation Extensions: four vertical extensions, included at no extra charge in MicroStation, for the civil, geospatial, plant, and building vertical markets. They include 2D civil drafting tools in civil, customizable mapping and analysis in geospatial, P&ID capabilities in plant, and 3D modeling in building.

-- Bentley applications: a comprehensive portfolio of applications for the civil, geospatial, plant, and building vertical markets. The functionality includes, for instance, automated drawing production and structural engineering tools in building; spec-driven pipe routing/placement, intelligent P&ID, and automatic annotation/dimensioning of 3D models for deliverables in plant; the industry-leading GEOPAK, InRoads, and MX product lines in civil, and a full line of water applications in geospatial.

Making the Upgrade Fast and Easy

To ensure that the program upgrade is fast and easy, the "You Deserve Better" program includes AutoCAD paradigms (such as key-ins and DWG workspaces) integrated into MicroStation products, special classroom and online training, as well as direct support from Bentley.

Upgrade Pricing Saves Design Teams 25 Percent to 36 Percent or More

Even with the functionality, openness, and policy advantages, the program's pricing allows AutoCAD-based organizations to upgrade for less than they would pay for the Autodesk forced retirement program.

The price to upgrade from AutoCAD 2000/i to MicroStation V8 is exactly the same as the cost to move to AutoCAD 2005 - $1,495. The price to upgrade from AutoCAD 2000/i (or AutoCAD LT 2000/i) to MicroStation PowerDraft is $750, or 50 percent less. The price to upgrade from AutoCAD LT 2000/i to MicroStation Redline is $100.

Also, each license for the work office comes with a home-use license at no extra charge for those who sign up for the Bentley SELECT program.

Overall, a typical design organization upgrading 10 designers using AutoCAD 2000/i would expect to save $9,070 by moving to an equal mix of MicroStation and MicroStation PowerDraft, and equipping three users at home. This represents a savings of 25 percent to 36 percent or more in the first-year cost of ownership. Those including more MicroStation Redline or Bentley View in their mix would save far more.

Plus, organizations previously forced to self-maintain a series of retired AutoCAD products to support legacy DWG projects can now have one universal, fully supported product that reads and writes to all these projects. This consolidation would significantly reduce software administration costs.

The program will also offer a standard upgrade discount on all vertical products. For example, this discount will apply to new licenses of Power products, which start at a list price of $1,495.

Licenses purchased for Bentley products are perpetual and are never subject to unilateral retirement. Additionally, users of Bentley products can participate in Bentley SELECT, which allows users to upgrade their products any time they choose.

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