Petition wants Microsoft to continue TechNet

Microsoft announced earlier this month that they would be retiring TechNet starting on August 31st, saying they would not accept any new or renewed subscriptions after this date. TechNet has been used by many IT professionals and software evaluators to try out Microsoft's array of products for a relatively low yearly price, so this announcement was received poorly by the community.

With the move, MSDN becomes the only true subscription service available that gives access to the full array of Microsoft products; however it costs significantly more, as base subscriptions start at $699 as opposed to just $199 for TechNet. The price hike has caused a petition (the second petition to Microsoft this week) to bring back TechNet, or alternatively provide an affordable alternative to MSDN.

The petition on Change.org reads:

IT Professionals and ISVs need affordable access to Microsoft products normally accessed through TechNet. Please continue TechNet or create an affordable alternative to MSDN subscriptions minus Visual Studio and associated developer tools. Currently, the only comparable MSDN subscription costs $6120.

Currently the petition has almost 3,000 signatures out of a required 5,000 with the organizer, Cody Skidmore, asking for people to "double down on the pressure" and to not assume that Microsoft will easily back-peddle and reinstate TechNet. If you would like to see TechNet brought back, head to the source link and sign the petition.

Source: Change | Thanks for the tip, jorel!

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Signed. I have been a member of technet for years and I agree, those trials they offer now are no substitute when you are a working class adult with kids and a family. Maybe this is why all the software engineers and a lot of other IT people are kids, they all have a ton of time on their hands.

What does TechNet offer that isn't offered by Microsoft Action Pack?

Similar pricing, similar licence keys and if you need Visual Studio you get a Developer version rather than the standard version.

I don't think Action Pack is available to everyone. I looked into it, and since graduating from college, TechNet is the only affordable way I can get access to Server 2008, 2012, and Exchange to learn and get the certs I'm preparing for. Like I, and many others pointed out, rebuilding an elaborate environment every 120 days with AD, Exchange, and the countless other Microsoft products and services available in their IT repertoire is not feasible. If that's the case, I'd spend my time honing my Linux skills and encourage my employer(s) (present and future) to adopt FOSS solutions instead.

For the people saying "just use 120 day trial software" I assume you aren't in IT and don't really understand what goes into building a test lab.

My home lab has been up for a few years already (running TechNet software). It runs on Hyper-v 2012 and has AD, Exchange (2007, 2010, 2013), Kemp Load balancer, SQL, System Center, TMG, and Windows 8. All of this is used for testing purposes.

Simply ripping all of that out every 120 days is just not practical. Especially when you are talking about your AD domain, CA, Exchange Org, etc... it takes a lot of time to get everything setup and working properly. System Center products are not easy to configure.

Technet is $149.00 USD per year for me. The only MSDN subscription that has Office products (which I need along with Exchange Server) is Visual Studio Premium which costs $6119.00 USD for the initial fee and then $2569.00 USD per year to renew.

This decision really hurts those of us that work for companies that do not pay for training and do not give out software keys so we can test at home.

I know Microsoft wants to push everyone to cloud, but after the data on Prism came to light you can bet your ass most companies are going to think twice about hosted services (Office 365) as they would lose control of their data (even if they are outside of the USA the NSA can still look).

The company I work for has a huge investment in data centers so we have no plans to move to anything that Microsoft offers in the cloud space.

bomberh said,
Signed, renewed my subscription end of June, didn't see this coming!

Same here. I waited until the very last day to to renew to see if I could figure out how they were going to change it this year. I actually called them after the retirement announcement and requested a refund, which they granted. While this really hurts me this year, taking money back from them was the only way that as a consumer that I felt that I could get my point across to them about what a crappy decision this is.

The easy fix for Microsoft is to make all TechNet keys only valid for 12 months, just like the trial/beta version of products they give out. That way people who abuse their TechNet licence agreements have to either renew or loose the freebie's they aren't supposed to have and use as fulltime computers. Simple really.

Hello, just going to chime in here.... I am the owner of theitbros.com. We wrote a sysprep article that most of you have probably used at some point. All of our tutorials on our blog are done with Technet licenses... and we don't have the time to reinstall VM's every 6 months. And in some lab environments, this is not nearly enough time to test products. There are many people that use these for legitimate purposes, including a lot of my colleagues. The MSDN subscription is not affordable. Please sign Cody's petition.

They already solved the piracy problem by nixing of perpetual use rights for technet. Previously technet keys were perpetual use keys that you are entitled to even after your subscription ended. They made this change earlier this year which meant that to continue using/testing the software, the client had to perpetually keep paying their technet subscription.

I use technet to evaluate and test the newest server technologies, test migration paths and test updates/patches without affecting my production environments. The loss of this vital testing repository will push me to just download cracked/pirated builds of the software for testing.

The product keys do not expire. You could hoard them and use them even when the subscription expires. Although Microsoft would like you to also discontinue use of the software and destroy the product keys. Its no different from Microsoft licensing products using Volume Licensing to a large company in good faith that they would abuse it and let employees take the keys and give to family and friends. Microsoft is a very trusting company. I guess its part of the getting them hooked strategy.

I'm sure most of the abuse came from joe blow buying technet and installing software for family and friends. If it was required to be MS certified and the technet licenses were tied to that ID it would fix the software abuse problem. For businesses somebody within the company would need to hold a MS certification. The technet licenses would be tied to their MCP ID and the company. If that person leaves the technet would need to be transferred to somebody else in the company that's certified or it would expire at the end of the subscription.
I'm sure there are many other ways that MS could do this but the point is they could still keep Technet around and make it beneficial to MS and true IT pros.

Actually, the greatest abuse was from people downloading it, and selling copies of the software. Heck even with one key for Windows, it could be installed and activated on up to 10 machines. I've had it for many years, and although my with my new job I don't need it, it would have been nice to keep.

Well they got more money from that than Joe Blow not paying them for a Technet subscription and downloading it off the internet anyway.

I think Microsoft is making a BIG mistake by axing Technet subscriptions and here's what they need to do to fix it.
Technet licenses were abused because Microsoft allowed any tom, dick or harry to sign up for it. MS should make it a requirement that you must be Microsoft certified and have an MCP ID in order to subscribe. This would curb the abuse and still let the real IT Pros have access to the software that they need in order to eval, learn and support Microsoft products.

They could even make it a tiered paid subscription
MCP in Office = Gets you the Technet Office subscription
MCP in Desktop = Gets you the Technet Desktop subscription
MCP Desktop/Office = Gets you Technet Desktop/Office
MCSA, MCSE, etc = Gets Desktop, Office, Server and other Enterprise software + more license key activations.

Something like this would promote more MS certified professionals and MCP's would feel good knowing that they have exclusive access to MS software. Heck I would get my MCSE current if MS did this.

I see where you are coming from, but most IT professionals that work for a company don't actually buy the Technet subscription...their bosses do. And they don't need to be MCP certified to own and run a company.

excalpius said,
I see where you are coming from, but most IT professionals that work for a company don't actually buy the Technet subscription...their bosses do. And they don't need to be MCP certified to own and run a company.

yeah, that's the problem. Unless Microsoft gives a better solution than Technet (more than 120 days to evaluate software, for example?) i can't see a way to get old ISO's or evaluation software for more than 120 days.

Microsoft does appear to listen to users - look at their recent changes to the xbox one due to consumer backlash. And even before that they havea history of giving developers, developers, developers what we want.

TRC said,

I'll sign it but I doubt there is any point, has an internet petition ever changed anything?


When online petitions were first around a few years ago, most of them had really quite limited
success rates, if they were lucky. These days, the online petitioning movement has grown into
very popular community based petitioning sites like Avaaz.org and 38Degrees.org.uk, which
deal with varied social and political issue campaigns, many of which have been successful in
getting various controversial decisions reversed, and had many politicians forced to revise
important policies for the better, especially since the Tory-led coalition took office.

For me the "one source for ll the downloads I need" is the most important part.
I cant count how many times I've accesses Technet just to get some Office, and then installed it with my client original key.

If MS where smart they would us at least give us a legal way to do this on any MS software. But they aren't. Not even close.

aristofeles said,
For me the "one source for ll the downloads I need" is the most important part.
I cant count how many times I've accesses Technet just to get some Office, and then installed it with my client original key.

If MS where smart they would us at least give us a legal way to do this on any MS software. But they aren't. Not even close.

This. I've lost count the number of times my clients (new, potential or old ones) lost some media but still had the license and technet, with much bigger array of software than VLSC (also old software), helped allot; now only Spark and MSDN subscriptions are the only way of evaluating software (sorry but many situations i've found requires more than 120 days) and one is harder to subscribe and the other is much more expensive.

And unfortunately i know one or two enterprises that abuse this kind of subscriptions .

thanks it helps but I've had the need to install Office 2k or 2k2 or even 2k3 professional, and those are hard to come by without technet.

The release cycle is happening fast now more than ever before we now have release previews and they get updated via windows updates also. No need for TechNet these days with stuff getting released in beta so early.

I actually renewed my Technet subscription just a few days before the announcement. I've signed the petition to keep TechNet going too. Yes, Microsoft does offer many freely downloadable evaluation versions but that really isn't convenient as a TechNet subscription - I happily pay them money to have access to their vast library of software to test out under my terms.

A 180 day eval is nowhere close to being the same as a TechNet download that I can virtualize and spin up/down as the mood suits me and know it is configured to my work environment.

Heck, for many months at a time I don't even access any of my member benefits - but I sure do like the flexibility of spinning up a server at any point to test out a new idea or see how my apps perform in different situations.

Eventually I'm sure I'll have to move to a full MSDN subscription but that's a whole different ballgame in terms of price.

It was mainly IT pros that was using it. I used it as well, now its going to be hard to learn Microsoft software because i don't want to have to buy a copy of the latest share point to study it etc. They are shooting them selvs in the foot here, its a great way to learn about Microsoft software and get experience. Once you have experience you can get a job, and then recommend the solution for companies to buy.

TrekRich said,
It was mainly IT pros that was using it. I used it as well, now its going to be hard to learn Microsoft software because i don't want to have to buy a copy of the latest share point to study it etc. They are shooting them selvs in the foot here, its a great way to learn about Microsoft software and get experience. Once you have experience you can get a job, and then recommend the solution for companies to buy.

Use the 120 eval.

They should reduce the number of licences given out, authenticate their use better then, not trash the whole thing

TechNet offers more than what Microsoft is planning to offer for free.

TechNet is so useful for IT Professionals, taking it away is a big problem!

sM4llziE said,
TechNet offers more than what Microsoft is planning to offer for free.

TechNet is so useful for IT Professionals, taking it away is a big problem!

the biggest problem is the rampant abuse of the service.

vcfan said,

the biggest problem is the rampant abuse of the service.

Unfortunately that has been plaguing TechNet for years. If people weren't stupid and greedy none of this would've happened but what can you do...

LogicalApex said,

Is it higher than all the Spark programs or MSDN?

Well MSDN is a hell of lot more expensive so that curbs the abuse rate. The spark programs seem to be a bit more exclusive in membership, its not as simple as just paying for a subscription and getting access, they have requirements for membership. Whereas Technet has always been open to who ever could pay for it, there was no verification that you were an IT professional. Being so cheap it's much easier to abuse, where as MSDN is abused less due to the price and Spark is abused less due to it being more exclusive.

At least that's my take from it.

LogicalApex said,

Is it higher than all the Spark programs or MSDN?

Definitely. If you're a tech startup company and you got accepted will you throw it all away to pirate stuff? I'm on BizSpark and only use it for my development needs. Yeah I might have a few Windows Server installations using the same key running in Virtual Machines (on a single Hyper-V host PC) but I hardly call that abuse...

Obry said,

Definitely. If you're a tech startup company and you got accepted will you throw it all away to pirate stuff? I'm on BizSpark and only use it for my development needs. Yeah I might have a few Windows Server installations using the same key running in Virtual Machines (on a single Hyper-V host PC) but I hardly call that abuse...


That's you. I know people that use Technet licenses for everything. All their family computers, a couple of servers. Even companies who use technet licenses (altho fewer and smaller companies). But almost everyone I know that has technet, uses the licenses for their home pc's, home servers, laptops etc. Not for development purposes.
Blame these people for MS closing it down.

Shadowzz said,

That's you. I know people that use Technet licenses for everything. All their family computers, a couple of servers. Even companies who use technet licenses (altho fewer and smaller companies). But almost everyone I know that has technet, uses the licenses for their home pc's, home servers, laptops etc. Not for development purposes.
Blame these people for MS closing it down.

I fail to see where people are abusing this service, considering it is "evaluation software"? ?
Not to mention the torrents out there, providing the same..
It seems odd that Microsoft would even consider that latter scenario, and have people not going through them.

spUrr said,

I fail to see where people are abusing this service, considering it is "evaluation software"? ?
Not to mention the torrents out there, providing the same..
It seems odd that Microsoft would even consider that latter scenario, and have people not going through them.


Its evaluation software for Network Engineers and test environments. Not to use as your daily OS.

Go read the terms of Technet subscriptions.

And why torrents, the new technet will supply all their products for free on a trial basis.

If its important enough for you to be forced to resetup every 180 days, then go get a frigging MSDN subscription....

yes for my company to have the same subscription services via msdn it would be over $6000. Some small companies can not afford that and I hope ms make a more reasonable msdn subscription for small business. TechNet should of been made that you have to prove that you actually own a business and not simply let anyone with 200 bucks sign up for it.

So let me get this straight - Microsoft says people want more free experiences so they are doing away with paid subscriptions. Yet, here's a petition for people who still want to pay for something they could possibly get for free in the future? Just shut up and take my money, huh?

Tarrant64 said,
So let me get this straight - Microsoft says people want more free experiences so they are doing away with paid subscriptions. Yet, here's a petition for people who still want to pay for something they could possibly get for free in the future? Just shut up and take my money, huh?

I think you're misreading something. By free they mean evaluation software (which generally expires after 120 days) while TechNet gave people full versions of software with no time limits. People are asking for access to Microsoft's library of full retail versions of software at more affordable prices. Yes, there's BizSpark for MSDN but that's not available to everyone and lasts up to 3 years...

Obry said,

I think you're misreading something. By free they mean evaluation software (which generally expires after 120 days) while TechNet gave people full versions of software with no time limits. People are asking for access to Microsoft's library of full retail versions of software at more affordable prices. Yes, there's BizSpark for MSDN but that's not available to everyone and lasts up to 3 years...

Except technically everything was there for eval use. Nothing there is meant for production use. Now then that isn't to say that I strictly followed the rules either but I kept pretty close to the spirit of the program for the most part. I needed it for the XP licenses...

I'm currently trying to study and prepare for several certs, including Server 2012. Having a 120-day eval is useless because I work full-time and live a busy life. I don't have time to rebuild servers constantly. I need to be able to evaluate complex environments from time-to-time and be able to know that if I need to go back and try something 4 months from now, it will still work. It just makes it that much harder to learn the software when hours of your time are spent reinstalling and reconfiguring whole groups of servers and clients to a certain environment, just to try something that takes 20 minutes.

And it amazes me that TechNet is a paid subscription, that encourages IT admins to learn and evaluate Microsoft software to gain certifications (which are expensive to test for), all so that their employers buy into the Microsoft ecosystem. Microsoft effectively makes money three times over from TechNet, yet they want to drop it in favor of free evaluations? That makes no sense.