Update on 'free' TechNet subscription

Yesterday Neowin posted instructions on how to obtain a free Microsoft TechNet subscription.

It's now clear that the free subscriptions were meant for a small and limited amount of people as part of an offer from Microsoft. Unfortunately this was not clear at the time of posting and the sign up links were public on Microsoft owned servers. We apologise that the possibility Microsoft had made a mistake wasn't highlighted more in our article until we updated it later when it became clear. Microsoft has currently disabled all accounts that were created using the method posted.

Thanks to Neowin member Kristan Kenney's blog we may have a final confirmation on how Microsoft will handle the keys produced from these subscriptions. Kenney spoke to a Microsoft TechNet spokesperson today and they supplied the following statement:

"The Microsoft TechNet Consumer Service Pilot program was intended for use only by those invited through the ITAC program, in which you had to fill out a survey and be accepted as a member of ITAC before being sent an invitation to the TechNet Pilot program.

All of the subscriptions that are listed under the TechNet Consumer Service Pilot have been taken offline and placed "under examination". Any subscriptions created by legitimate ITAC members with valid contact information will continue to have a valid subscription. For those who are not a member of ITAC and signed up directly with the web address will have their subscriptions revoked and any claimed product keys will be placed on a blacklist with Microsoft Genuine Advantage and Product Activation to prevent against software piracy."

When Kenney pushed the official for what would happen to those who planned to share their product keys the spokesperson confirmed "we are able to see what product keys have been assigned to a subscriber, so in that situation we can track down which subscriber the product key originated from."

We contacted Microsoft on several occasions yesterday and the company is aware of the situation but has not issued a full public statement on the matter. It appears that Microsoft will be revoking subscriptions and blacklisting keys obtained. Once we get further correspondence from Microsoft to confirm/deny Kenney's findings we will update this post.

Update: People in the UK are reporting their subscriptions have been re-instated. Still no word from Microsoft. What's going on here?

Update 2: Accounts for those in the UK appear to have been revoked again. I have spoken to Microsoft UK today, their official response so far "We are currently tracking down a statement for you from Microsoft and hope to have something for you shortly. We will keep you posted".

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