Microsoft to stop new TechNet subscriptions after August 31st

Microsoft is retiring one of its long running software services that has given IT workers and other software users a way to get early access to the company's products. Today, Microsoft announced that, after August 31st, it will no longer take new or renewed subscriptions to its TechNet software service.

The official TechNet website has posted the news about the changes, noting that Microsoft will continue to honor all current TechNet subscriptions until they conclude. It added that people who purchase or renew their subscriptions by August 31st must fully activate them by September 30th.

Microsoft has also posted an FAQ page about this decision. It stated:

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.

The FAQ page also said that while TechNet has "experienced piracy and license misuse in the past" that was not necessarily the main reason for its retirement. Microsoft still has its MSDN Subscriptions program which also offers a way to access current and past software products from Microsoft. along with support in message board forums, access to eLearning courses and more.

Source: Microsoft | Image via Microsoft

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Microsoft's Don Mattrick officially Zynga's new CEO

Next Story

Klout scores now influenced by Bing searches

68 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

I wouldn't be surprised to see a service announced somewhere down the line that will give access to all of the same software via Azure-hosted VMs. Obviously, there would be some charge/subscription, but would minimize the need for keeping extra hardware around for testing purposes (as well as keeping that hardware running and up to date).

It wouldn't cover 100% of those losing TechNet access, but maybe the large majority of users.

I've been a technet subscriber since 2006 and as an IT person I have learned a great deal from testing the various products using my subscription. I am sorry to see this service go. Maybe it's time to make the switch to open source. Linux and BSD have come a long way since 1988 when I started in IT. Does anyone know for sure if what I have installed at this point will stop working once technet is gone?
Thanks,
Tracy

tscotty2 said,
I've been a technet subscriber since 2006 and as an IT person I have learned a great deal from testing the various products using my subscription. I am sorry to see this service go. Maybe it's time to make the switch to open source. Linux and BSD have come a long way since 1988 when I started in IT. Does anyone know for sure if what I have installed at this point will stop working once technet is gone?
Thanks,
Tracy

Nothing will stop working, just save your keys before the account expires since the keys don't stop working either. You just won't get new stuff anymore.

techfreak said,
The technet pages clearly states the keys will no longer work after the subcription program expires.

it states that but they don't actually stop working.

techfreak said,
The technet pages clearly states the keys will no longer work after the subcription program expires.

More specifically, the software will continue to work but you will not be able to activate any more times.

I suspect they're retiring the program because they're turning into a "Services" company and giving away all your services for $200 per year isn't the future for them.

Giving Windows for $100 per year, Office for $100 per year, Live for $100 per year (it's coming, they'll do it two years into the Xbone I bet), Visual Studio for $200 per year, etc, etc.

But if you give away all your software, suddenly people don't feel the need to buy an Office subscription for $100 if you can get anything including Windows with two licenses NOT bound to accounts for $150-200.

So yeah, Technet had to go. I'd be surprised if it wasn't entirely related to Office 365.

Oh well thats their loss. People will just steal it anyways. At least they were getting something for this. Now they will get nothing.

I don't agree with this move. I really feel like Microsoft should offer something comparable in the MSDN offerings. MSDN is simply not affordable @ $6,119.00 for a comparable MSDN offering that includes Office products.

For myself; I have a home lab where I am running around 20 virtual machines. I have been learning how to use the latest system center products like SCVMM as well as migrating my Exchange environment from 2007/2010 to 2013. 180 day evaluation's are not going to cut it for this scenario.

I think if the audience for Technet is IT Professionals. A fair trade off would be to restrict Technet to IT Professionals that provide valid MCP ID and only allow one subscription per MCP ID.

With a Silver Competency you get 5 MSDN Premium licenses. To be frank with the license agreement that everyone should be following no one should care about TechNet sunsetting as this affects nothing in production or development. MSDN is expanding to encompass what TechNet used to have. For production until a competency can be acquirted Action Pack is still here, the same price, and provides about 10 licenses for production, internal use - more than enough to complete the competency requirements.

You have enough software with Windows Storage Server, System Center and Server 2012 to buildout a full private cloud for acquiring exam knowledge, then rolling that into a competency for free Office365, 5x MSDN and 25x not for resale internal use licenses to keep rolling into more competencies that stack.

A Small Business Silver Competency requires 1 exam passed, and is super easy to obtain. You can fulfill all the lab requirements to pass 70-410 with the trial software and licenses, and TechNet is not required.

In short, this isn't a big deal for anyone actually in IT.

Except for the fact I can do one click to get software, and to do an exam I need to travel at least 4 hours to an exam center.

is that 349 per year or is the renewal price lower? If so then it's around the same price as technet and might be a viable solution since it offers production internal use licenses.

Another bone headed move by Microsoft, it's like they are trying to go out of their way to annoy the customers and people who are in positions to recommend or not recommend their offerings. Yes, there are were cases of real abuse (reselling of subs), and there were any number of ways to address that if they wanted too address it, this isn't the way and while some use cases are covered by their suggested alternatives a significant portion are not. This move in tandem with various others over the last 12 to 18 months is going to have lasting negative effects.

A lot of people created tons of TechNet accounts for several hundreds bucks each and were "reselling" product keys. Even Fortune 500 companies are using these keys through multiple level of subcontractors. These keys don't expire after TechNet subscription expiration so everyone was happy. I just can't imagine number of new homes and fancy cars purchased by people who were exploiting this scheme.

Not anymore.

Good for them. Too many douche bags abusing the program. BizSpark is a little better in that it requires licensees to own a technology related startup and they manually verify you. I've been a member for couple years now and although I personally enjoy internal use software (which I don't abuse - I still have my Office 365 subscriptions, etc) I have brought them tens of thousands of sales through the applications I'm building for clients. Idiots who abuse these programs strictly to get their hands on deeply discounted software that is illegal for retail/business use ought to choke on a serial number and die...

There will be significant backlash from this move... Significant enough to cause numbnuts Ballmer to reverse the decision? That remains to be seen.... But it wouldn't surprise me.

Doubt it. The only people it'll truly hurt are those who are reselling them. There are other options for people who are using it for the right reasons.

I don't resell my serials, and I couldn't afford to pay what they want for MSDN packages. So yeah... They'll lose money from me and others like me.

Didn't they change the rules a couples years back. I believe your keys expire after your subscription ends. That's the reason I didn't renew last year. Can someone confirm this?

While I believe they will still work, legally they expire. You are not supposed to use them after expiration of your account, but it's not like you will go non-Genuine.

you just go to MSDN and download it...

it's just Microsoft trying to move itself more 'upmarket' take Oracle and SAP for example.. they also have extremely high barrier to entry, and you can't get access to their software to learn for a few hundred quid can you? No.

Imo they are just moving themselves into line with other areas of the market... just like they have done with their server licencing models.. it's a shame, but i can understand why.

I honestly don't think piracy was the reason behind this, I am sure MS knows that those using technet for piracy are the same ones who are just as likely to pirate the software outright once technet is gone. So MS would have achieved nothing except lost out of a cpl hundred dollars they otherwise would have got.

I am also sure like just about every other industry where piracy occurs it is in the minority not the majority,

MS could have also reduced the number of keys per product etc, they could have implemented several work arounds if they were concerned with limiting piracy on the platform.

I also suspect MS will have more student/learning based programs so when one door closes for many I suspect a new one will open anyway.

MS have already reduced the number of keys per product a number of times. It started at 10, then went down to 5, and now it's down to 2 or 3, depending on your subscription level.

This is going to hurt quite a few who, erm, ahem `evaluate` Microsoft software...Still maybe not the greatest move as most of still paid annually, that`s going to be a pretty big chunk of dosh!
Allthough for what you got access to it was immense...

yeah didn't they make the licences from Technet expire after 1 year though.... so even if it was $200 that is something you have to pay each year...

Software-wise, there is no difference in the TechNet versions from the normal versions. However, it would be technically possible for them to stop the TechNet keys from activating new installations (for the programs that require activation).

this is bull****!!!! screw you Microsoft....keep it up, keep it up, i am so close to switching away from your ecosystem it is not even funny.

You can use the eval center to evaluate your favorite MS apps for free and you can also download previews which Microsoft intends to release each year. So, Windows 8.1, 8.2, 8.3 etc will be available for 1 year each to test. On top of that, if you work for a company, you should be able to get these apps for free through your companies volume licensing program.

Mr. Dee said,
On top of that, if you work for a company, you should be able to get these apps for free through your companies volume licensing program.

Unless your company is too cheap or too small to be part of the program.

Mr. Dee said,
On top of that, if you work for a company, you should be able to get these apps for free through your companies volume licensing program.

Yeah, but each license costs money via volume licensing, so say you are evaluating SharePoint , SQL, and Server 2012, you still have to pay for it when you True-Up and despite having VL, it won't be cheap...

Okay..... so NOW how to we get a Windows 8 license transferable to another PC? MS only sells Win 8 as lockeddown to one PC with no hope for upgrading your PC in the future. This sucks

Windows 8 retail is an upgrade license which is transferable to another computer as long as you remove it from the current computer it is installed on and transfer it to a computer running a previous qualifying version of Windows such as Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7. The Windows 8 OEM System Builder license for the first time includes transfer rights.

Yep, I just built a new dev machine, and transferred my Win8 license to the new build. I installed Win8 on the new PC, used the same key, and was notified that the key was already in use. Then, I just had to do the activation over the phone, and I was up and running in about 5-10 minutes. Not a problem at all.

how does this work today? looking up the TechNet subscriptions, do the keys now expire after my TechNet subscription expires? lets say I install Windows 7 Enterprise (which doesn't have activation).. do my keys expire once the subscription is over? It didn't used to. The subscription bought full access to full version software as long as it worked. I hear the policy or at least the license has changed. Is the software now physically limited to the subscription duration?

I don't know whether or not the keys would continue to activate (I would not be surprised if they do though). However, once your TechNet subscription is over, you must remove any TechNet software that you are still running. Got that?

couldn't care less what they say you have to do. I only want to know if the software physically disables itself or expires.

I bet they will continue to activate too, because Enterprise doesn't do activation. it is a VLK and doesn't need activating.

No, the product keys is you retrieve do no expire. Windows 7 Enterprise does use product activation, it uses a MAK license which is similar to a retail license.

nullie said,
I bet they will continue to activate too, because Enterprise doesn't do activation. it is a VLK and doesn't need activating.

The volume license versions since Windows Vista and Office 2010 all use activation (either with a multiple activation key or an internal key management server).

I didn't see that when I activated Windows 7 Enterprise. There was no connecting to Microsoft or the Internet for activation, or doing any phone activation. The activation is "transparent" and done without contacting Microsoft on the VLK system.

it was pretty much the same as Windows XP Corporation Edition. Enter key, and the activation occurs without notifying Microsoft.

Mr. Dee said,
No, the product keys is you retrieve do no expire. Windows 7 Enterprise does use product activation, it uses a MAK license which is similar to a retail license.

The product keys do not expire in a way that already activated copies remain activated. The retail keys cannot be used to activate new copies of the software in some cases (like a key for Windows 8 or 7). Static activation keys remain fully functional. Years ago I used to be a technet subcriber through work, but that subscription has been cancelled in favour of an msdn subscription.

This only effects people who do not work in IT and are not students. Everybody else has access to really cheap licenses for these products.

majortom1981 said,
This only effects people who do not work in IT and are not students. Everybody else has access to really cheap licenses for these products.

Really? Where? Unless you're suggesting people in IT steal their company's licenses, which I'm pretty sure is illegal.

Agreed, please point out where I can now gain access to cheap copies of Windows Server and clients to go with it.

If your using TechNet for 'company licenses' meaning for production purposes or for 'cheap licenses' than your the exact reason Microsoft is doing away with the program. TechNet was always meant for non-production, testing purposes. Meaning, before your company goes out and buys a hundred licenses of the latest version of Windows, you can try it out a few machines and see how it works with your other systems and network. After that your responsible for purchasing a full license for the software.

But Microsoft still has the DreamSpark (Students), BizSpark (Startups) and MSDN (Developers) programs.

Where did I say technet was for company licenses? I didn't. I was merely asking majortom where one could get CHEAP licenses to software just because they work in IT.

I've been a TechNet subscriber for several years now. It was a great way to... uh... "evaluate" Microsoft's latest software. Okay, the whole idea of unlimited "evaluations" that are identical to the retail products was pretty dumb from the beginning. I wondered how long it would take for Microsoft to smarten up to that.

Yea... been "evaluating" 2 copies of Windows 8 and 2 copies of Office 2013 on my computers for some time now

There's a lot more to Technet than you think. The idea of Technet was to allow IT professionals and enthusiasts to be able to evaluate these softwares and learn how they work for their business. This is especially true for software such as Windows Server.

Gio Takahashi said,
There's a lot more to Technet than you think. The idea of Technet was to allow IT professionals and enthusiasts to be able to evaluate these softwares and learn how they work for their business. This is especially true for software such as Windows Server.

Yup. It was also one way for me to learn the Server OS without spending cash on a license (that I might not end up using). It also allowed me to get older OS releases like XP especially on a multi-lingual basis.

RichardK said,
we have the people who tried to profit from TechNET subscriptions by selling product keys to thank.

People are selling MSDN subscriptions as well..... Still it has not been cancelled.

the difference is MSDN costs like between $699 and $13,299.00/year for a sub. Microsoft couldn't care less what you do with those keys for that price. And it doesn't include Microsoft Office, unless you are paying $6,119.00/year.

now TechNet is $200/year with the right coupon (download/ISOs only), and includes 5 licenses for each edition of Windows, Windows Server, and Microsoft Office.

I would buy this right now if you don't have an account. This will be your last chance to get Windows 8 Pro, Windows 8 Enterprise, Windows 7, Windows Server (all editions), Microsoft Office, and other software ALL full version for only $200. you get 5 licenses for EVERY edition of all these software suites and more. no one is getting anything like TechNet for cheap again.

nullie said,
I would buy this right now if you don't have an account. This will be your last chance to get Windows 8 Pro, Windows 8 Enterprise, Windows 7, Windows Server (all editions), Microsoft Office, and other software ALL full version for only $200. you get 5 licenses for EVERY edition of all these software suites and more. no one is getting anything like TechNet for cheap again.

Gee, I wonder why they're stopping it. They claim piracy isn't the main reason, but I'm inclined to believe it's one of the biggest reasons. People who can't help themselves but brag about how they managed to get full legit versions of thousands of dollars worth of software for a few hundred dollars a year have not helped the situation at all.

you're still paying $200-$300 for an account. that's not privacy dude, it's just obtaining the software through slightly different means. you don't get support for the software like real ****, and no retail packaging. it costs less, Microsoft still makes a mint.

btw, I happen to get the subscription for many reasons. one of which is to mess with the Windows Server software. learning, and other stuff. there are some conditions when you can use the desktop software legally on a home unit as well, it qualifies if you use the software to aid in the testing of other Microsoft software (so I can use the Windows 8 Pro licenses on my system which I use to remotely access and tap Windows Server DataCenter Edition, etc).

I don't think anyone should care how they obtained the licenses as long as they did and they were legit. It's just as easy that someone could NOT PAY and generate an Enterprise serial.

nullie said,
the difference is MSDN costs like between $699 and $13,299.00/year for a sub. Microsoft couldn't care less what you do with those keys for that price. And it doesn't include Microsoft Office, unless you are paying $6,119.00/year.

now TechNet is $200/year with the right coupon (download/ISOs only), and includes 5 licenses for each edition of Windows, Windows Server, and Microsoft Office.

I would buy this right now if you don't have an account. This will be your last chance to get Windows 8 Pro, Windows 8 Enterprise, Windows 7, Windows Server (all editions), Microsoft Office, and other software ALL full version for only $200. you get 5 licenses for EVERY edition of all these software suites and more. no one is getting anything like TechNet for cheap again.

Correction 2 licenses. Anyways I used it for valid reasons and I always frowned on it when people didn't follow the rules.