Microsoft Corp is retiring TechNet Subscriptions, its subscription program designed to help IT Professionals prepare for critical issues and plan for future deployments by providing them with access to the latest software for evaluation purposes, in addition to beta releases, Professional Support Calls, and other technical information and tools.
The company explained in the TechNet FAQ that "As IT trends and business dynamics have evolved, so has Microsoft’s set of offerings for IT professionals who are looking to learn, evaluate and deploy Microsoft technologies and services. In recent years, we have seen a usage shift from paid to free evaluation experiences and resources. As a result, Microsoft has decided to retire the TechNet Subscriptions service and will discontinue sales on August 31, 2013."
Customers who purchased a TechNet Subscription from a local reseller can register by using the card provided inside the package through September 30, 2013. Registrations won't be accepted after this date.
Microsoft will focus on growing and improving our free offerings for IT professionals, 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.
The decision to retire the TechNet Subscription service does not impact the TechNet site. Microsoft will continue to provide free access to a set of TechNet assets to support IT Professionals.
The TechNet Subscriptions Software License Terms will not change as a result of this announcement. The TechNet License Terms grant one user the right to install the program software on any devices for evaluation purposes, including those located at his or her home, so long as the user fully complies with all of the License Terms. The user may not use it in a live operating environment, a staging or production environment, or with data that has not been sufficiently backed up. The user may not use the evaluation software for software development or in an application development environment.
All subscribers with active accounts may continue to access program until their current subscription period concludes. The TechNet benefits portal and the subscriber downloads page will remain available for non-Volume Licensing subscribers through September 30, 2014.
Microsoft has suggested other resources that can be used to help IT Professionals evaluate technologies for their projects. These include:
- TechNet Evaluation Center: Free evaluation software with no feature limits, available for 30-180 days. Includes rich evaluation resources and TechNet Virtual Labs, which enable you to evaluate software without the need to install bits locally.
- Microsoft Virtual Academy: Free online learning site, with over 200 expert-led technical training courses across more than 15 Microsoft technologies with more added weekly.
- TechNet Forums: Free online forums where IT professionals can ask technical questions and receive rapid responses from members of the community.