Soft sell

September 12, 1997

When is a business not a business? When it is an educational institution. If an ordinary business wanted to buy 14 copies of AutoCAD Release 13, 12 AutoCAD LT, four AEC Release 5 and three copies of Mechanical Desktop - this is computer software, not furniture, you understand - the bill would be Pounds 52,700.

But with educational discounts, Harrogate-based Computer Enhancements was able to knock out that little lot for a mere Pounds 6,500 to Guildford College of Further and Higher Education. There it will be used to deliver industrial short courses at between Pounds 250 and Pounds 350 per student per day, a rate which makes Pounds 1,000 for a year's university tuition seem rather a bargain. The college "is expecting a quick payback", no exaggeration since we estimate that the software could pay for itself in a month if fully used. Autodesk's press release voices no regrets at having let the software go so cheap to a profit-making concern. But professional designers who pay full whack for such kit may feel it is time some of the discounts came their way.

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