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Focus will now be on paid MSDN subscriptions and free TechNet services

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) has for some time now maintained two separate subscription services to support deployments of Windows, Office, Sharepoint, and various other Microsoft products in the information technology  (IT) community.  IT folks could get some basic support and resources with free trials, but for serious help they had to buy a subscription.

The first service was called TechNet and its purpose was to allow "hands-on IT Professionals to evaluate Microsoft software and plan deployments".  By contrast the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) subscription offered support for "evaluation, development, and testing purposes."

While a bit different in practice, those goals increasingly became as overlapping as they sound, hence it perhaps is unsurprising that Microsoft at last decided to phase out paid subscriptions to TechNet.

Microsoft TechNet

In a post on TechNet it writes:

Microsoft is retiring the TechNet Subscriptions service to focus on growing its free offerings, including evaluation resources through the TechNet Evaluation Center, expert-led learning through the Microsoft Virtual Academy [MVA], and community-moderated technical support through the TechNet Forums to better meet the needs of the growing IT professional community.

The last day to purchase a TechNet Subscription through the TechNet Subscriptions website is August 31, 2013. Subscribers may activate purchased subscriptions through September 30, 2013.

Microsoft will continue to honor all existing TechNet Subscriptions. Subscribers with active accounts may continue to access program benefits until their current subscription period concludes.

As to why it decided to switch, Microsoft cites the high usage of free trials, commenting, "As IT trends and business dynamics have evolved, so has Microsoft’s set of offerings for IT professionals who are looking to learn, evaluate and deploy Microsoft technologies and services. In recent years, we have seen a usage shift from paid to free evaluation experiences and resources."

It says it announced the retirement before the final shuttering of paid services so as "to provide valued customers with ample time to plan for their evaluation needs and to make the necessary adjustments so that this change does not impact their ability to manage their business."

There's a lot of finer details to the shift, so business will want to read the fine print carefully, but at the end of the day this appears to be a streamlining move on Microsoft's part, shuffling the responsibilities of TechNet onto MSDN, MVA, and other similar free or paid support services.

Microsoft is in the midst of a major leadership shakeup.  The head of the Interactive Entertainment Division (which includes the Xbox unit), Don Mattrick already jumped ship (or was fired, depending on who you ask), landing at Zynga Inc. (ZNGA).  The phaseout of TechNet may somehow be tied to this broader internal restructuring, as well.

Source: Microsoft [TechNet]



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Doubtful
By DigitalFreak on 7/1/2013 8:58:42 PM , Rating: 5
It's more likely they decided that allowing people to pay $249/year to have access to all Microsoft software was eating into their bottom line. Used to be you could get 10 keys per item, then 5, then 3. Now none.




RE: Doubtful
By LazLong on 7/1/2013 10:03:44 PM , Rating: 3

quote:
by Dall our igitalFreak on July 1, 2013 at 8:58 PM

It's more likely they decided that allowing people to pay $249/year to have access to all Microsoft software was eating into their bottom line. Used to be you could get 10 keys per item, then 5, then 3. Now none.


You've obviously never had a TechNet Pro subscription. It didn't provide access to all of the software, that would be what used to be called a MSDN Universal subscription, and even that doesn't include access to Mac apps.

TechNet Pro was aimed at IT service professionals and didn't include any developement tools or enterprise software other than System Center, whereas MSDN is aimed at developers and included development tools and other software depending on the level purchased.


RE: Doubtful
By Mitch101 on 7/2/2013 8:17:47 AM , Rating: 2
Hes right for the most part if you didn't need visual studio. What was killing it is people had 10 keys they give one to their relatives, friend, etc or at 10 keys you get 2-5 people split the cost and each has 2 keys. Then you had people selling their extra keys on e-bay because Microsoft never expired the keys. The system got abused plain and simple. They dropped it to 5 keys used twice then 3 keys Im not sure how the 3 keys worked I was gone by then and on to MSDN.

But Microsoft kind of provides enough free stuff and lengthy trial versions that you can work around this if your willing to re-install software every 60-180 days. What some people do in that case is install the Core OS usually in a VP then take a snapshot then install the trialware versions of software use them until they expire then replace the image with the core OS and start over again. Or download another set of Microsoft VHD's and learn for another period of time.

Attend some events and Microsoft gives some software away for free they claim its trial but it never expires. However they have been cutting back on that too because a lot of people are there for the free software and nothing more so they raffle several copies at the end of events now which has really ruined the number of events they hold.

All is not lost there is dreamspark,bizspark, student/teacher discount and corporate copy for $10.00 of Office. Then Microsoft's free versions of software is enough for most beginners as well. In some cases they give away full developer platforms for free where you used to have to buy things like Visual Studio standard before you could not develop for Microsoft products. The express editions have become good products just that if anyone knows of a version called ultimate they want to downplay any other version meanwhile 99% of the people with an ultimate copy will never use any of the features of it they may never exceed what express offers for free.

Before we beat up Microsoft for this how many people did it take to Ruin Photoshop and adobe software that their latest versions are going to be online copies with subscription service but personally if Adobe had realistic prices for web page and photo software it wouldn't be like that.


RE: Doubtful
By bigboxes on 7/2/2013 12:58:11 AM , Rating: 3
Thank God my friend has a MSDN account. My connection continues!


RE: Doubtful
By kleinma on 7/2/2013 9:52:07 AM , Rating: 2
Except the entire MS model is moving to subscriptions.

MS allows 180 day trials of most of their non consumer based software (Windows Server, SQL Server, etc..), while their consumer products like Windows and Office are moving to subscription models where product activation keys are becoming irrelevant. Even Visual Studio will likely move to a subscription based model, since going forward releases will likely be synced to Windows releases (for example VS2013 is the next version of Visual Studio, and what is needed to develop against Windows 8.1)

I think this is the real reason for getting rid of technet. MSDN probably isn't too far away, but for now, developers need access to test on a variety of platforms. Eventually MS will probably have virtualized installations to test against, perhaps on Windows Azure.


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