Technet's demise

Microsoft closes their Technet program giving an unlikely reason.

Microsoft has announced the closure of their popular Technet program from 31 August 2013.

You can continue to buy a Technet subscription until that date and current subscriptions will be honored until they expire. So if you were thinking of getting Technet, you now have a limited time to buy

There’s a long, involved FAQ available which we’ll be examining carefully.

Technet has been around for many years and was an excellent way for developers and IT professionals to access and test a good range of Microsoft products – old and new. A Technet subscriber could test, say, Office macros/VBA across different versions of Office and on various releases of Windows.

Alas Technet is will be more, probably because it’s become too popular. But Microsoft’s official reason is just plain silly:

In recent years, we have seen a usage shift from paid to free evaluation experiences and resources.”

So we’re being asked to believe that IT professionals prefer to use time-limited evaluations (useable for between 1 and 6 months depending on the product) for current products only instead of paying a modest annual fee for ongoing evaluation access to current and past products.

Oh yes, and TechNet isn’t being closed – it’s being ‘retired’.

It’s just another example of Microsoft marketing hype that only serves to impress the gullible and insult the intelligence of the majority.

The real reason Technet is closing is simple – Microsoft doesn’t need it any more. Technet was a way to encourage IT decision makers to use and encourage the purchase of Microsoft products instead of rivals. With most competition out of the way, companies, staff and contractors have little real choice.

So Microsoft has decided they don’t have to be so generous to developers and other IT workers.

Technet was becoming more popular and Microsoft had tightened up on the licensing in recent years. The ready availability of virtual machines has made installation and testing of multiple scenarios a lot easier and that’s meant more Technet licenced software is being used.

And the other reason for the closure of Technet is in a link near the bottom of the announcement. Microsoft’s suggested alternative to Technet is an MSDN subscription which is substantially more expensive. An MSDN subscription with Office software included costs over $6,000 in the first year and over $2,000 to renew. Technet cost well under $1,000.