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Print 16 comment(s) - last by 0ldman.. on Jul 3 at 12:52 AM

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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RE: Allow me to reciprocate.
By HackSacken on 7/2/2013 9:55:10 AM , Rating: 1
Article related - shame they are ridding the service, but I look forward to what they bring to the table for free.

DiscoWade - Really, we are still on this? How can you say a majority request the start menu back? It's common knowledge that it is more rare one makes it a point to go online and review a good business, but they are more likely to rag on the bad.

I understand they should have provided at least more options as opposed to forcing, but sometimes you have to rip the band-aid off all at once. Regardless, you are not at a complete loss. You are provided with a superior search option, you can pin file explorer to "program files" if you feel you must browse all of your installed applications, or you can create a toolbar right on the taskbar to whatever directory you want. You should be overwhelmed with options! And that doesn't even include third party!

Actually you are probably right; they are killing the golden goose. I suppose they should have just left everything alone. No one would have complained about MSFT staying in the stone age with their legacy start menu and a non-touch friendly interface.


RE: Allow me to reciprocate.
By retrospooty on 7/2/2013 11:05:38 AM , Rating: 3
"You should be overwhelmed with options! "

How about the option to NOT have the start menu take up the entire screen. It's an absolutely aweful solution for any decent size screen. On my 15 inch 1080p laptop its just heinous... On my 24 inch at home its a joke. I cant even imagine how rediculous it is on a 27 or 30 inch. Ugh. What are they thinking.

I was pinning my hoped on WinBlue and the return of the start menu. Just loaded the Develpoer preview on a test laptop... WTF... The start button just brings you to the same fullscreen W8 start screen. There is no return of hte start menu at all. Whatever, Win7 can stay forever as far as I am concerned.


RE: Allow me to reciprocate.
By Mitch101 on 7/2/2013 12:06:00 PM , Rating: 2
What are you missing out on seeing when you go to start and it opens in full screen vs a small menu?

Start is there for you to find and load an application its 3 seconds of you not seeing the rest of the screen. Are you a chameleon and able to look in two different areas of the screen because I have to focus on the menu to find the program and run it even if its small or the entire screen.

The problem is solved with 6 free applications or two paid ones pick your poison and stop whining like a little girl or please buy a mac and let them deal with your whining.


RE: Allow me to reciprocate.
By retrospooty on 7/2/2013 5:14:19 PM , Rating: 2
"What are you missing out on seeing when you go to start and it opens in full screen vs a small menu?"

The rest of my screen and all the windows open on it.

" Are you a chameleon and able to look in two different areas of the screen because I have to focus on the menu to find the program and run it even if its small or the entire screen."

I guess that makes me a chameleon then.

"The problem is solved with 6 free applications or two paid ones pick your poison and stop whining like a little girl or please buy a mac and let them deal with your whining."

I did. using Stardock's Start8 now. I dont have to see that rediculous touchscreen UI on my large non-touch screen PC ever again. I am just not paying for it Win8 or 8.1. You think its worth your money, go for it. Enjoy.


RE: Allow me to reciprocate.
By 0ldman on 7/3/2013 12:52:06 AM , Rating: 2
I rarely sell PCs, but I work on them and recommend them for my customers, both business and home.

This year I've migrated 3 businesses and 2 home users to new laptops running Windows 8. Even with Classic Shell two of the business users opted to buy a refurbished laptop with Windows 7, have me move their programs and data over and they both gave their Windows 8 laptops to their high school/college age children.

The home users complain, constantly, but they don't have money to throw around to pay to downgrade/upgrade to Windows 7.

So far I've dealt with 50 to 75 customers with Windows 8, around 15 like it. To date I've not heard a single complaint about Windows 7 from my customers.

I personally love the improvements under the hood. Windows 8 is damn fast. I do not care for the interface. It would be different if I had a touch screen, but most computers don't.


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