Microsoft has announced the end of the TechNet subscriptions service. TechNet is known as the home for all resources and tools designed to help programmers build testlab environments with Microsoft products and technologies. The Microsoft Developer Network MSDN service remains intact.
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TechNet blogs and support forums will remain intact, but the service that started at the end of the 1990s will no longer exist in the same way. The TechNet service offered developers practically the whole Microsoft desktop and server software range in the form of CD/DVD-ROM based software (that was eventually superseded by online downloads) for just a few hundred dollars.
A breeding ground for enthusiasts, hobbyists and (arguably) real individual innovators, TechNet's "evaluation only" restriction was often (arguably) flouted in some cases in order to get cheaper upgrades and licenses — and this, along with piracy, may (arguably) have been some of the reason behind Microsoft's recent decision.
The firm is justifying this move by saying 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," confirmed the company blog.
Microsoft explains further and says that it is retiring the TechNet Subscriptions service to focus on growing its free offerings, 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.
Microsoft will continue to honor all existing TechNet Subscriptions. Subscribers with active accounts may continue to access program benefits until their current subscription period concludes.