Microsoft Ending TechNet Subscription Program August 31, 2013

Subject: General Tech | July 3, 2013 - 01:18 AM |
Tagged: windows server, technet, microsoft, IT, evaluation software, enterprise

In a surprising announcement, Microsoft stated that it will be retiring the TechNet software evaluation subscription service. The TechNet service gave IT professionals and enthusiasts the ability to evaluate its software products before committing to buying licenses and doing a full roll out on production machines. It also provided support and information labs to subscribers.

Fortunately, it is not being shut down immediately. Microsoft will cease offering new subscriptions on August 31, 2013.

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Therefore, if you are interested in renewing an existing subscription or buying a new TechNet subscription, you have a little under two months to purchase one. Microsoft will stop selling subscriptions on August 31, 2013. If you are purchasing the subscription as a renewal to an existing one, you must buy the subscription before August 31, 2013 but do not need to activate it immediately. You will need to activate your purchased TechNet sub by September 30, 2013.

Further, TechNet subscribers will retain access to all of their traditional benefits until either the end of the subscription or September 30, 2014 (whichever comes first, depending on when you activate your subscription). After that point, users will lose access to the subscriber's portal which gives out downloads and keys.

It should be noted that the TechNet website itself is not going away, at least not for awhile. The paid benefits are being discontinued, however.

According to Microsoft, the company is discontinuing its services as a result of a combination of factors that includes a transition towards free evaluation software as opposed to putting evaluation copies behind a pay-wall. Microsoft also mentioned piracy and concerns with those subscribers abusing the system and selling keys (ie. on eBay), but that it was not the primary motivator in favor of shutting down TechNet.

Retiring TechNet is a bit surprising, but Microsoft has been moving in the direction of offering more free trials and evaluations in the past few years. Windows 7 and 8 enjoyed quite a few free testing software releases at various development stages. The company also offers up trials its Azure cloud computing platform and electronic/sample labs of its server software. TechNet did have the benefit of licenses that did not expire after 90 days (or thereabouts), as well as providing access to multiple copies of software, downloadable ISOs, and a catalog of all its software SKUs in a centralized place.

Considering MSDN and its various spark subscriptions are still alive and well, canceling TechNet seems like an odd choice, but at least Microsoft is giving IT departments and enthusiasts advanced warning and up to a year to prepare to transition to one of the other (unfortunately more expensive) subscription services or see if the company's free offerings are "good enough" by next year.

More information can be found on the official TechNet website.

What do you think about Microsoft's decision to axe paid TechNet subscriptions?

Source: Microsoft

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July 3, 2013 | 04:07 AM - Posted by DeadOfKnight

WTF is Microsoft TechNet?

July 3, 2013 | 06:58 AM - Posted by Tim Verry

It... is a paid/yearly subscription program that gives/gave anyone willing to pony up the cash (though it's aimed at those working in IT departments) access to Microsoft's software library, including things like licenses and downloadable ISOs for Windows, Office, Windows Server, development software, et al. And so long as you paid the yearly fee, you could legally use this software in a testing (not production / commercial use, ect) environment to evaluate software.

It is/was basically a way for IT departments to get early access to full versions of MS software to give them a chance to test it out before (and after) release to see if the IT department wanted to commit to buying volume licenses for software and deploying it out to the entire company.


MSDN, on the other hand is more for software developers who are actually working with MS products to write code. DreamSpark is... sort of like MSDN/TechNet in that it gives access to some full versions of software but at a reduced price for students.

July 3, 2013 | 09:38 AM - Posted by alex1002___ (not verified)

Does this mean also MSDN.

July 5, 2013 | 05:35 AM - Posted by Tim Verry

No, MSDN is safe. For now

July 3, 2013 | 09:50 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

DreamSpark unlike technet is there to make sure there is enough trained cubicle gerbils, working in vast farms to crank out all the software bloat that M$ marketing needs to mine your data metrics and deliver the ad content that will increasingly become part of the M$ OS experience! The technet users (SMB IT) will now have to pony up for the more costly MSDN services! M$ is going towards content consumption model with its consumer OS, and a more costly enterprise model for business users! M$ wants to turn windows into a Bing powered Google like service, where the advertisor is the main revinue source, and the computer/device user is the captive audience, through the new windows 8, 8.1, 8.*, TIFKAM and IE 11 closed ecosystem! With M$, it is the fence them in and get their wallets model!

July 3, 2013 | 05:27 PM - Posted by dave (not verified)

Very poor at a time of recession will need all the help we can to resell and demo and test software we do not want to continuely down load the same soft to demo to new client they have shot themselves in the foot

July 4, 2013 | 12:28 AM - Posted by meganerd

Not so much of a dumb move as it is a dick move. At work the IT group will probably have to pony up for an msdn licence. For companies they will get more money, and those of us with personal technet subscriptions will have to pony up for their cloud based labs.

I won't, but then I am fluent in several platforms so Windows will just end up fading from my personal lab. Most IT "Pros" are just going to suck it up because we already know that most are not going to bother with Linux or something else.

After spending 20 years in technology, this does not really come as a surprise. This is just Microsoft being, well Microsoft. Being out of touch is kind of their mission statement.

August 13, 2013 | 01:01 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

This boils down to one issue: money. Period. End of story, no more discussion, done!

Microsoft has to satisfy its shareholders, and this goes one more step to that end.

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