Starting in August Microsoft will no longer accept new TechNet subscriptions. The service will shutdown once current subscribers contracts end. Ed Bott has a nice write-upon TechNet’s pending end.
TechNet was originally create in the late 90s, in an effort to get builds to consumers through CDs (by mail) in era where broadband was slow and expensive. Economically TechNet was a great deal, for a few hundred dollars annually, you got early access to MS builds of server and desktop software with multiple product keys. Technically the software was for “evaluation purposes only,” but nobody ever followed this and it was never enforced. Due to the ability to get multiple product keys, many people shared subscriptions or even illegally sold the extra keys.
In a letter to subscribers, Microsoft wrote, “IT trends and business dynamics have evolved,” and TechNet has outlived its original purpose. Additional details:
- New subscriptions won’t be accepted after August 31, 2013. Newly purchased subscriptions must be activated by September 30, 2013.
- Current subscribers will still receive subscription benefits until their current contract ends. For most retail customers,subscribers are limited to a single year.
- Existing subscriptions that expire on or before September 30, 2013 may be renewed for one year. Renewals may be purchased until August 31, 2013.
- Subscribers with active Microsoft Certified Trainer accounts may continue to access their program benefits until March 31, 2014.
- MVPs will continue to receive the option for a free Visual Studio Premium with MSDN subscription.
Microsoft has posted an FAQ here. MSDN subscription will continue to be sold, but they are a bit more expensive, on a magnitude of 2x to 3x, with the cheapest subscription being $699 and not even covering everything in the TechNet subscription.
The end of TechNet has been a long time coming and over the last decade Microsoft has continued to put restrictions on it year after year. Microsoft wants consumers to subscribe to their services, Xbox Music, Office 365, SkyDrive, Xbox Live etc. and not a TechNet subscription. With the rapid release of Windows every year, upgrades will cheap (free for Windows 8.1) and the $300 spent on TechNet can be put to other uses.
Source: Ed Bott