Then in September 2010, TechNet reduced the number of product keys from 10 per product to five (each key can validate 10 or so copies of the software). That really wasn't much of a concern for people using the program the way it was intended. In March 2012, Microsoft cut the number of keys again, to two (for Standard) or three (for Professional) per product, explaining:
We are acting to protect the value of your subscription. If we did not act to prevent abuse of subscriptions we would eventually have to either limit the products available in a subscription or raise the price of your subscription. We believe that this is the best compromise to continue to deliver the highest value to you while limiting abuse at the same time.
That was a little over a year ago.
Four months ago, WinBeta reported:
If you have yourself a TechNet Subscription, you'll soon be able to gain access to the new Office 365 suite released by Microsoft a couple of months ago. Microsoft says they are "committed to providing IT professionals with access to Microsoft software & services for evaluation purposes, and we are actively working to provide our subscribers with a full year subscription of Office 365...." TechNet Subscribers can download and activate a full version of Office 2013 from the subscriber benefits portal. The Office 365 subscription will last 1 year, it is unknown if it will be renewed along with your TechNet subscription.
In the past three years, we've seen a drastic reduction in the price of a TechNet subscription, a reduction in the number of keys offered, and a new product -- Office 365 -- added to the bounty. You have to wonder who's making the decisions.
The petition site says, "Currently, the only comparable MSDN subscription costs $6,120." While much depends on how, precisely, you define "comparable," many IT professionals, developers, admins, consultants, and the like could make do with a Windows-only MSDN subscription for $699 ($499 renewal), or a Windows, SQL Server, and Visual Studio subscription for $1,199 ($799 remewal) -- heady prices, those. If you want Office and Visual Studio Premium, along with various developer accounts, you're staring down the barrel of a $6,119 expense -- with a paltry $2,569 annual renewal fee.
If you want a TechNet subscription that lasts until July of next year, Microsoft's order site still works. But if you want your subscription to continue for years to come, sign the petition and let your friends know about it -- and hope that the powers that be understand how important it is to keep independent consultants, admins working at home, and other IT professionals up on Microsoft products.
Why couldn't Microsoft tighten the requirements for a TechNet subscription, cut back on keys again if necessary, and let those of us who provide the enormous web of Microsoft support go about our licensed ways?
This story, "Developers stand up to keep Microsoft TechNet alive," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.