Microsoft to retire TechNet subscription model for IT professionals

By on July 1, 2013, 8:00 PM
microsoft, windows, software, redmond, technet, subscription

Microsoft will soon be doing away with its TechNet subscription model in order to focus on growing their free offerings, the company announced on Monday. IT professionals interested in purchasing a subscription have until August 31 to do so and must activate accounts by September 30 while those with an active account may continue to use it until their current subscription period ends.

The software giant updated their TechNet subscription and licensing information page to reflect the changes. It is here that we are told about Microsoft’s free offerings including evaluation resources through the TechNet Evaluation Center, expert-led learning through the Microsoft Virtual Academy and community-moderated technical support through the TechNet Forums.

If you aren’t familiar, TechNet is a resource for IT professionals interested in learning more about Microsoft products. Specifically, the service allows subscribers to try the latest full version and beta software from Microsoft’s extensive portfolio – starting at just $199 annually.

Countless IT professionals have relied on TechNet subscriptions for years to deploy Microsoft products on a trial basis to determine if they are right for a particular application. Once those subscriptions run out, these customers will be left with basic trial software that is often limited in functionality and more importantly, time.

A 30-day trial period may be more than enough for the average home user but those in charge of enterprise systems will likely find it’s simply not sufficient to make a decision one way or the other – not to mention those nagging activation screens that accompany most trial software.




User Comments: 17

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1 person liked this | St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Good job. Retire the tool that enterprises used to evaluate if your latest OS was viable.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

"You are welcome to continue using our MSDN Subscriptions for 10x the cost." Greed is what motivates this.

JC713 JC713 said:

Good job. Retire the tool that enterprises used to evaluate if your latest OS was viable.

Yeah, really stupid decision.

RH00D RH00D said:

The operating systems actually can be evaluated for 180 days. Which should be long enough...

Guest said:

@ RH00D

The keyword is "Enterprise". 180 days may be suffice for normal end users but for enterprises developing major software or even normal developers, they may require more time than what the trials have to offer.

Besides, it's clearly written in the article:

"A 30-day trial period may be more than enough for the average home user but those in charge of enterprise systems will likely find it's simply not sufficient to make a decision one way or the other - not to mention those nagging activation screens that accompany most trial software."

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

This is pretty stupid, and surely they were making money out of it still?!

Rinzler Rinzler said:

Well there's still the MSDN and Microsoft Actionpack (Microsoft solution partner), unsure if they include everything from technet. Otherwise as far as os's go you can extend the trails pretty much infinite.

Guest said:

This is a step they should NOT have taken, especially when they today need to prove to be stable, but flexible!! They will loose on this "deal", I am sure. Many small and big Changes without being felxible will break them in the end. Look at Netware vs MS once up on the time.

They are falling into the same kind of trap. :(

Guest said:

I have been using M$ Technet and to be honest it was the reason that I stopped my conversion to linux. Now with it going away I see no reason to pursue the switch again. This time it may just be for good. Heck I find myself doing more and more in a browser so why not just take the plunge into Chrome.

MilwaukeeMike said:

@ RH00D

The keyword is "Enterprise". 180 days may be suffice for normal end users but for enterprises developing major software or even normal developers, they may require more time than what the trials have to offer.

Besides, it's clearly written in the article:

"A 30-day trial period may be more than enough for the average home user but those in charge of enterprise systems will likely find it?s simply not sufficient to make a decision one way or the other ? not to mention those nagging activation screens that accompany most trial software."

yeah, the keyword is 'Enterprise' do you know how much money it costs an 'Enterprise' company to determine if an OS is stable enough to roll out to a few thousand computers? It's thousands if not a million or more dollars. And almost all of it that cost is testing. The point is, they can afford to buy a dozen software licenses to put on some PCs for testing. The software is a fraction of the cost.

This is pretty stupid, and surely they were making money out of it still?!

Maybe, but perhaps it just wasn't very popular. Small companies are probably ok with free trials, and big companies probably just buy the software anyway. And any huge server implementation for very expensive software would take more support than $199/year would provide.

ddg4005 ddg4005 said:

This was disappointing when I read it yesterday and it's still disappointing today. Hopefully TechNet will be replaced with something else down the road (but I won't hold my breath).

2 people like this |
Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

This is probably to curb abuse. Believe it or not, there's an underground market for MSDN keys; they're sold for cheap on places like eBay. Subscriptions are also abused by local computer shops and used indefinitely by companies who want to save cash and don't give a s@#$% about Microsoft's "test purposes only" EULA... $300/year for all the MS software you could want is a pretty good deal. And when you're done, cancel your account and your keys remain active, forever.

By the looks of it, the new set up is "free" but offers an inconsistent mixed bag of trial times. Server is 90 days while other products are 30 days.. while others still are 60 days. This sounds like a mess for testing. A uniform 90-180 day trial period would meet the needs of most large companies though.

Guest said:

I can see wanting to clamp down on software evaluation abuse, but that's not the only thing that Technet subscriptions got you. You also got access to tools like the Diagnostic and Recovery Toolset. That's something that you couldn't download or even buy anywhere else, not even from Microsoft itself. The subscription was the only way to get it. I know, I looked for a long time before getting the subscription. I'm a sysadmin and tech support, not a developer, so I don't need a developer subscription.

JC713 JC713 said:

This is probably to curb abuse. Believe it or not, there's an underground market for MSDN keys; they're sold for cheap on places like eBay. Subscriptions are also abused by local computer shops and used indefinitely by companies who want to save cash and don't give a s@#$% about Microsoft's "test purposes only" EULA... $300/year for all the MS software you could want is a pretty good deal. And when you're done, cancel your account and your keys remain active, forever.

By the looks of it, the new set up is "free" but offers an inconsistent mixed bag of trial times. Server is 90 days while other products are 30 days.. while others still are 60 days. This sounds like a mess for testing. A uniform 90-180 day trial period would meet the needs of most large companies though.

True. A friend of mine has a father who has a MSDN subscription. My friend tells me how he gets all MS software free through his dad's subscription.

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

You also got access to tools like the Diagnostic and Recovery Toolset. That's something that you couldn't download or even buy anywhere else, not even from Microsoft itself.

Yeah, it doesn't look like they're offering this without a sub. I have my fingers crossed it will be freely available though... we'll see.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Otherwise as far as os's go you can extend the trails pretty much infinite.

Last time I checked, you couldn't. You couldn't even use a trial version and activate it to become full, nor use it to upgrade. The trial is hard-coded into the OS release.

By the way, MSDN abuse: not sure how that's possible for OS. The keys given to you go through the same authentication as any other keys and it's only possible to obtain one copy of each OS.

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

Last time I checked, you couldn't. You couldn't even use a trial version and activate it to become full, nor use it to upgrade. The trial is hard-coded into the OS release.

By the way, MSDN abuse: not sure how that's possible for OS. The keys given to you go through the same authentication as any other keys and it's only possible to obtain one copy of each OS.

With the appropriate Technet subscription, keys get multiple activations and you get multiple keys for each product. Some products have volume license keys too, which can be used many times. The rules have gotten more rigid over the years, but it's not abuse-proof.

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