Monday, July 1, 2013

Microsoft TechNet Subscription Service Retiring

Microsoft TechNet Subscription Service Retiring

I was a little surprised when I opened an email from Microsoft announcing "Technet subscription service retiring."

The last day to purchase a TechNet Subscription through the TechNet Subscriptions website is August 31, 2013. Subscribers may activate purchased subscriptions through September 30, 2013.

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.

Great for Learning

I've had a TechNet Subscription almost every year since about 1999 when I first became a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT). It has been an outstanding resource to obtain both new and established products. This has been absolutely essential as a trainer and author when I was writing about new products, and tremendously valuable when I was prepping for an established product that was new to me.

Need more specifics on which products are included with a TechNet Subscription? You can download the full list of products available by subscription level here.

For some of these years, Microsoft provided a TechNet subscription to all MCTs. For other years when they didn't provide it, I paid for it out of my pocket. I've certainly valued this and wonder if they plan on replacing it with anything such as an MSDN subscription. We'll see.

TechNet Subscription Alternatives

If you don't have a Technet Subscription and don't want one, you can still use these resources:
  • 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.

MSDN is the Real Replacement

MSDN Subscriptions provide a paid set of offerings that are available for those who require access to evaluation software beyond what the above free offerings provide.

For years, MCTs have asked for MSDN Subscriptions instead of the TechNet subscription so that they could access application software available within Visual Studio. It would be great if they replaced the TechNet Subscription with MSDN. I'd seriously consider returning to teaching some application courses. 

I actually backed off teaching some application courses simply because it cost so much to get Visual Studio.At $6119 for Visual Studio Premium with MSDN, it becomes a huge investment. Especially when you compare it to the $349 for TechNet Professional.


If you want the the TechNet Subscription, get it now.  Microsoft might back peddle and change their mind later.  They have quite a history of making U-turns. However, if they do change their mind, I doubt it'll be soon after August 31, 2013.