TechNet value for Office testers

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Microsoft TechNet is re-released with a new low cost package for IT professionals.

Microsoft has revamped their TechNet package of software with a new low cost package.

TechNet is a long standing Microsoft program to get their software into the hands of computer professionals to let them, in Redmond’s words “evaluate, test, and troubleshoot Microsoft software”.

Over the years the TechNet offerings have changed and dropped in price, especially in recent years when there’s been an option to only download software and not get any physical disks in the mail.

Now there’s ‘TechNet Standard’ available for just US$199 ($149 renewal) compared to the previous TechNet Plus Direct for $349.

Microsoft is being coy about what products are included in TechNet Standard saying only “Includes most MS commercial software including Beta and RC releases. Does not include some Enterprise or Dynamics software.”. That will include Office 2010 licenses – though the number supplied isn’t disclosed either.

TechNet Professional is US$349 ($249 renewal) and adds Operating System, Server and Dynamics software.

There is also a TechNet Professional with Media for people who like collecting silver disks . TechNet subscriptions can be purchased via volume license agreements.

As we said, Microsoft isn’t being clear about what products and the number of licenses for each is included in the new TechNet offerings. As a guide, the ‘old’ TechNet Plus direct available until 14 June 2010 had, among other things, 10 licenses for Office Ultimate 2007 AND 10 licenses for Office Standard 2007 AND 10 licenses for Office Enterprise 2007, and so on. With Office 2010, it’s 10 licenses for Professional Plus and 10 licenses for Standard. Plus 10 separate licenses for each of the components, such as Access and Word.

TechNet supplied software is full featured and has no time limits on use. However the licence is “for evaluation purposes only–not for use in production environments” and software development is also excluded. As with other limitations on use (eg Home and Student editions) it’s hard to see how Microsoft can enforce such a limitation in practice.

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