Microsoft to Shut Down TechNet Subscription Service

TechNetSubShutDownThe service stops taking renewals on 2013-08-31.

In a letter to TechNet Subscribers today, Microsoft announced their intention to shut down the software subscription service. New subscriptions or renewals will not be taken after 2013-08-31. The service ends for subscribers when their subscription terms.

Thus ends a 15 year journey, which started in 1998 with a package of CD’s the size of Montana.

Historically, this has been the best deal in town for small businesses, fugal IT shops or anyone with a great deal of PC’s to maintain on a small budget. For $299 ($249 renewal) a year, TechNet Professional got you access to just about everything Microsoft had to offer, including consumer and enterprise versions of Windows, Windows Server and Office. With a small business of my own and up to 7 physical PC’s in my house, as well as any number of VM’s, TechNet Professional was the best way to get Microsoft Software.

The deal was a winner for me; but for Microsoft, it was an invitation to global piracy. Many users would simply purchase the subscription, grab all the keys they were entitled to for the numerous versions of the software they were given access to, and then sold them, at times with counterfeit media, to unsuspecting customers looking for a cheap deal of “genuine” software. Killing the TechNet service stops this flagrant form of piracy.

While it may help MS put a stop to piracy, for me, with potentially 8-10 MS powered PC’s in the house, it completely sucks.

If Windows goes to a subscription model, they better make it VERY affordable, otherwise, many PC’s, worldwide, in my opinion, will either NOT get upgraded OR will simply move to some form of Linux… if something else is needed. Open Office or Libre Office is also looking really good for those laptops and PC’s that don’t have mobile broadband or reasonable access to cloud based services like Google Apps, MS 365 or the upcoming iWork for iCloud.

TechNet’s shutdown is a good thing for MS as it cracks down on license abuse as well as piracy; but its also a huge win for open source products as many consumers will likely take harder looks at them if they decide to upgrade existing PC’s to newer operating systems and newer office suites.

It also lends additional credibility to alternative PC’s – tablets and smartfphones – and the Office compatible software available for those devices. That software is traditionally much more affordable, and this only creates incentive for users to move to that form of economically affordable computing .

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