2013
07.09

This is last week’s news but I was a little occupied and, to be honest, a refresher isn’t a bad thing.  Last week, Microsoft sent out notifications to TechNet subscribers that the subscription service was coming to an end:

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TechNet Subscription is a service where you can get just about every Microsoft install products (minus the dev ones) for evaluation purposes.  IT Pros have used TechNet as a means for evaluating, testing, and learning Microsoft products over the years.  At a modest fee of a few hundred, it was a great value service.  Without TechNet Subscription I could never have become an MVP.  I could have run home labs, I couldn’t have done demos in presentations.  Before that, I leaned on TechNet to run a lab to learn Server, AD, Virtual Server (when you had to pay for it), etc.  What I learned what transferred to the production network.

Now IT Pros are to seek alternatives:

  • Evaluation Center: Get time-limited trials.  Sorry, but we IT Pros are kind of busy.  We can’t be rebuilding labs from scratch every 90-180 days.  Are you trying to make like more difficult?  I had an interesting chat with a MOC trainer (a very large international company) a few weeks ago.  He was driven insane by the need to redeploy entire training environments every 3 months because of activation limitations.
  • Virtual Academy: Seriously?!?!? Level 100/200 training?  That’s supposed to prepare an IT Pro?
  • Virtual Labs: Canned, limited, virtual only labs.  Sorry.  That’s a joke.
  • Forums: You’re having a laugh right?
  • MSDN: The equivalent subscription is 3-4 times more expensive because it is aimed at developers, and includes rights to use Visual Studio with the included s/w for development and testing purposes, not just evaluation.

I’ve said this in private, had it ignored, and now I’ll say this publicly.  This is a stupid move.  This stinks of start menu obstinacy.  Even the start menu caused a divide.  The entire IT Pro audience is furious about this.  Somewhere a bean counter has looked at the bottom line and forgotten that hybrid cloud only works if the private cloud part is implemented.  Who exactly is going to implement that?  A person who has seen 5 minute videos on Virtual Academy?  Get a grip!

Right now, a person is reading this and saying “hey you MVPs aren’t affected”.  Yes, correct.  One of our benefits is an MSDN subscription so my access to materials is not affected.  I’m not angry for myself; I’m angry for the community, the people I represent as an MVP.  Where are the next generation of MVPs going to come from?  Are they going to be dumb retweeters for MSFT marketing?  Are they going to learn just level 100 content from online labs?  How are customers/consultants going to learn how to implement private cloud?  BTW, the usage rights for MSFT partners to MSDN are limited to just a few people.  Good luck with hybrid cloud without private cloud expertise.

This is an opportunity for Microsoft to listen to feedback and reverse course before it is too late.  Don’t wait a year to apologise after you’ve alienated a market … see Windows 8.

As for you the reader, I do not want to hear a peep from you unless you’ve signed this petition.  There’s too many sheep out there.  Don’t bother tweeting, linking, commenting, or anything else unless you have signed the petition.

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9 comments so far

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  1. Aidan – there is a better petition – CA Callahan asks for a reconsideration rather than an alternative benefit – MCT’s are in uproar over this ‘stupid move’ I dont need MSDN i need and want technet, the only MSDN subscription that currently works for me is the hugely expensive premium one (and I dnt need ANY dev tools) so I am tweeting, linking and EVERYTHING I can, but I havent signed this one I have signed the alternate one.

  2. I don´t need MSDN I already have Prof version I my employer NEVER will buy expensive PREMIUM edition, I don´t need Evaluation Center – I have no time for such stupid idea.
    Microsoft WAKE UP

  3. Couldnt agree with you more! So frustrated with this move, I’m wondering how to go forward to continue legally testing my environment. I have test labs setup and they run way over the 90-180 days… This allows me to truly test my environment changes without spending a ton of precious time recreating it.

    Plus it allows me to target very specific scenerios, especially with upgrade paths. One of the great things with technet is downloading an old version and walk through the upgrade process.

    This is a horrible hit, it will have a major impact on IT Pros that rely on this.

    If it was a money issue, they should raise the price. The value is there, however MSDN price is too high, as we do not need development tools.

    Another thing to think about: MSDN Licensing only allows you to use/test software for your development work. Technet license allows you to use/test software for evaluation and proof of concepts. So this is not a transition that even fits their licensing model!

  4. Every consultant that I have ever hired or spoken to that is an expert in Microsoft products owes their expertise to having access to TechNet. I’m going to keep this short… I agree with everything Aidan said.

  5. I 100% Agree with you, Technet is the number 1 reason why we have invested so much money in Microsoft products over the last 3 years, it has allowed me and my staff to test and understand their products better.

    As IT managers, system admins, help desk staff, sellers, etc, we are the front line in getting tech into our companies or companies we deal with, without this tool how can we recommend or implement Microsoft products?

    Also thanks for the petition, link have signed a number of others, but I have also signed this one.

  6. Aidan,

    Great post. Petition signed. Thank you.

    JamesNT

  7. @Ed Baker There are at least four TechNet petitions currently. I wrote to the other three authors asking that we collaborate rather than divide forces and compete for signatures. One responded but I haven’t heard from rest. I still hope to update the petition so everyone feels represented. The petition may have my name on it but it belongs to everyone.

  8. CA Callahan and I spoke. I think this is worked out, and I’m grateful.

  9. The ability to build labs for evaluating and learning new technologies is critical. Without this ability your users will be more conservative in deploying new technologies = less sales for MS. Having a wide pool of available skilled experienced staff is important to businesses deciding what technologies to deploy – remove access to the products and this pool will dry up. Foolish, short sighted move.

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