About a month ago, TenLinks uncovered the following in our routine scans of websites looking for CAD news, Archicad Now Free for Students, on CGarchitect.com. Though the news was on a longstanding and respected site for architects, I sought to verify the story. There was no press release or any announcement from Graphisoft, makers of Archicad. In fact, I couldn't find any mention of it on the Graphisoft site -- or anywhere else. I wondered why Graphisoft would fail to publicize something so significant, so positive, so potentially popular? We are more used to vendors who err the other way, seeking to publicize that which is insignificant.
About a week later, Dominic Turnbull of Graphisoft marketing contacted me regarding the free version of ArchiCAD and I took the opportunity to question him about it.
Here are some highlights from our discussion:
- The initial download of the free (education) version is good for 30 days. Graphisoft's "student status processing" will determine if the downloader is truly a student or a commercial user or other non-student.
- Graphisoft is allowing teachers to download free ArchiCAD for personal use.
- The free version will introduce a watermark on all drawings it accesses.
- Graphisoft has logged over 20,000 downloads and 2,000 full registrations of free Archicad in the first 2 months of its availability.
I still don't know why Graphisoft has chosen to underplay the free version although I suspect they may be testing the waters. Perhaps they are afraid of what it might do to sales of the commercial version.