Autodesk makes design software free to students worldwide

The software maker estimated that means free educational access for more than 680 million students and educators from over 800,000 secondary and post-secondary schools across 188 countries.

Autodesk just trotted out its own present for students worldwide, but this gift will keep on giving far beyond Cyber Monday.

The Bay Area-based firm announced on Monday that it would be making its professional design, engineering and entertainment software free to students, teachers and academic institutions worldwide.

This includes Autodesk's flagship suite of cloud-based products, such as the A360 collaboration platform and Fusion 360 for 3D printing.

The move stems from Autodesk's previously announced domestic commitment to President Obama’s ConnectED Initiative , a project launched in June intended to connect all American students and schools to next-generation Internet network speeds.

Adobe and Apple , among other Silicon Valley giants, have also committed financial and technological resources.

Thus, building upon free software for academic institutions in the United States, Autodesk is extending the helping hand to more than 680 million students and educators from over 800,000 secondary and post-secondary schools across 188 countries.

The placement of free educational access starting as soon as middle school through university levels also serves the useful purpose of building Autodesk's following from the ground up. Such an initiative is tailored to establish a global community of accustomed and loyal users from a much earlier age with the intent of keeping architects, designers and engineers onboard throughout their careers.