TechNet Professional (formerly TechNet Plus) subscriptions are one of the best ideas to come from Redmond – allow IT Pros to pay a subscription, and evaluate pretty much all Microsoft software without time limits and expirations. Why is this such a good idea? Because Microsoft gets a significant portion of its revenue from business licensing, and making evaluation as easy as possible can only encourage adoption of new versions.
Last year, Microsoft silently dropped the number of licenses per application from 10 down to 5, arguing that for evaluation, there was no need for so many licenses. Perhaps, perhaps not. I create new VMs to evaluate software fairly regularly, and having 10 keys makes it much less likely to encounter activation issues.
But ok, we only get 5 – so we adjust.
Well, for some reason Microsoft has decided that they want to scale things back further – as seen on the subscription home page,
Beginning on January 26, 2012, individual subscribers to TechNet Professional Subscriptions may access a maximum allocation of 3 product keys for Microsoft Office and Windows Client products in connection with their subscription. The allotted keys may only be used for software evaluation purposes. Once the maximum keys have been activated no more keys will be made available. Additional product keys may be acquired through the purchase of an additional subscription.
Unfortunately, I just saw this today, so I’m doing like any reasonable person would and requesting all 5 keys for any Office or Windows related products before they drop it down again – until I hit the daily key request limit…
First of all, making software evaluation more difficult is only going to hurt Microsoft. But then again, Windows 8 doesn’t appear to be geared toward business AT ALL, so maybe it is indicative of a shift in strategy.
(It is odd that Windows 8 preview still isn’t on TechNet, nor is the System Center 2012 RC…)
If only TechNet members had the time to protest…