For years, Microsoft has offered a huge sampling of software for review at a very reasonable cost. Called the TechNet Subscription program, it’s been in place since 1998.
For just a few hundred dollars a year, the subscription program offered users the opportunity to, as the service’s motto explains “confidently evaluate Microsoft software and plan deployments.” But yesterday, in a message to TechNet users, Microsoft explained it would be discontinuing the program.
Microsoft enthusiasts could use the subscription as a way to get cheap Windows client and server upgrades and licenses, reported Ed Bott at ZDNet. For businesses, the subscription was a good opportunity to cost effectively evaluate software before buying.
The subscription did, unfortunately, invite some piracy on the part of subscribers who would get hold of the review software and then resell “keys” used to access it at a huge profit. It’s unclear whether piracy concerns played a role in Microsoft’s decision or whether moves toward cloud-based software solutions might have more to do with it.
Blogs and support forums will remain giving help to users, Microsoft announced. But no subscriptions will be available after August 31, 2013. The subscriptions generally run for a year.
So if the TechNet Subscription program is something you’ve used regularly to evaluate software for your business, better take note.
Will you be affected at all by the discontinuation of this Microsoft service?
Image: Microsoft Technet
I’m sure this was really a big deal at one time, maybe still is for some. Many cloud services I’ve seen, at least in terms of web tools, offer a free trial period these days, which, in some ways, seems like a different version of the same thing. So perhaps times are just changing. I’m wondering from anyone out there in the SBT community how many used this service and found it helpful.