This came out of the blue – Microsoft are to stop the TechNet subscription.  Like plenty of other IT professionals I rely heavily on Technet for building test environments at home in my lab to enable me to test certain configurations and scenarios without me having to do it on a live environment.  This is a very valuable feature to me which enables me to strengthen my knowledge in areas where I am weak as well as providing a good environment for me to learn new versions of software, etc.  “But use the fully featured eval” is the answer…. but this is not the answer as only the latest versions are available to download and these are time limited (90/180 days).  The time limit is not great – I often spin up VMs and scenarios I might have built years earlier which probably won’t even reach 180 days of use in their lifetime, but it is essential they are still accessible years later.  Plus with only the latest available, how am I supposed to test migrations from previous versions (unless I happen to have previously downloaded that previous version when it was a current release)?

So why has Microsoft made this move? OK the economy is slow, but are they really losing that much money from the few people who sell their TechNet keys online?!  Surely this loss will be offset by the sheer number of IT professionals and IT departments who use TechNet to explore software and then implement (and hence buy).  I have a horrible feeling this will only come to light in a couple of year’s time when much damage has been done.

Until then, I wonder if this will push more companies to consider open source?


From the announcement page:

Microsoft has announced the retirement of the TechNet Subscriptions service

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.

IT professionals who would like to purchase a new TechNet Subscription or renew an existing subscription may do so through August 31, 2013. Subscribers may activate purchased subscriptions through September 30, 2013.

Microsoft remains committed to providing IT professionals with access to the resources and technical assets they need to learn about, evaluate, and deploy Microsoft technologies, including those listed in the grid below.

More background on the retirement decision and implications for current subscribers is available in the TechNet Subscriptions FAQ.

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