Microsoft Insists It Is Listening to TechNet Fury

Editor’s note:  As part of our special editorial partnership, Channelnomics is publishing this recent article from CRN in the UK.

Microsoft has promised it is listening to feedback from resellers upset with the axe of its popular TechNet software trial and evaluation product.

Last week it announced that from August, no new subscriptions to the service will be accepted, but said that all the resources would be available free of charge but only for up to 180 days, as opposed to two years.

At the time, resellers reacted badly to the move and  a petition has since been launched, attracting nearly 2,500 signatures. The petition asks the software giant to create a more affordable alternative to its Developer Network (MSDN), which the petition claims can cost more than $6,000 per subscription.

In light of the uproar, at its Worldwide Partner Conference event in HoustonMicrosoft’s U.K. director for partner strategy and program Janet Gibbons said the firm is listening to feedback and might review the most controversial element of the axe.

“I think we have heard from partners that the Internal Use Rights from a developers’ perspective is not long enough,” she said. “I am sure we will listen to that and make a decision as to if we will change that period of time or not.

“The reason for the change is that many of the resources in TechNet were available online anyway. The explosion of online and the fact you can find out info so easily from anywhere [meant] we no longer felt it was appropriate to sell it. The product just naturally came to the end of its life.”

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5 Responses to “Microsoft Insists It Is Listening to TechNet Fury”

  • With all due respect to Janet Gibbons, she is not quite aware of what is being cancelled, and which the campaign seeks to have re-instated.

    There is no doubt that the information IT pros need is often to be found on TechNet. There’s not much point in putting that onto DVDs (as was once the case). I was an early subscriber to TechNet, long before the information went online. In those days we did indeed have CDs full of information – and that was a very good thing. But for the most part, that stuff stopped being sent out a decade ago. Or at least it seems like that.

    What the campaign IS asking for is to reinstate the TechNet subscription program that enables IT pros to get non-timebombed copies of Microsoft software, going back a decade or more. That is very different to just information.

    So please, Microsoft, listen to the 8500 users who have signed the petition. Please do the right thing.

  • Dana Racine:

    Absolutely Cody. MSDN is not an adequate replacement for 95% of engineers. Most engineers don’t have the resources at work, since we don’t control the purse strings and we don’t have decision authority of priorities and technologies. How will we get up to speed on the latest technologies with such stringent rules of 90-180 day evals? In fact, there should be no time limit on the use of the TechNet products for engineers. The longer we use the products, the more benefit it is to Microsoft. If I deploy Windows 8.1 from TechNet, then Windows 9 from TechNet and remain in the cycle, only via a $150/annual subscription – Microsoft benefits because I have evangelized, tested, and learned the products through the years. There is no linear “dedicated” time to learn these products and put them through their paces in 90 days…that is ludicrous!

    This whole thing is a half-baked plan by product managers/marketing professionals, most of them who likely have never run a focus group even asking user groups or engineers directly what they thought of the decision.

    What the hell Microsoft? This is not a good direction, and as I said in my TechNet forum post, this is well more than just stopping a product: it is a small but significant symbolic decision as to the future direction of the company.

    Reconsider your decision, or face the consequences as more decisions like this are made – or you will certainly find many engineers jumping ship on recommending your products.

    • Mad:

      Very well worded and entirely on point. They love the free evangelism and testing but want to take away the PAID tools we use to give them that free benefit.

      Part of the problem is also the sheer number of products that we have to be learned simultaneously. Just because I have an OS set up in my lab for a year doesn’t mean I’m using it continuously. As an example right now I need to come up to speed on Windows Server 2012 Foundation, Server 2012 Essentials, Windows Server Standard, Windows Multipoint Server 2012 Standard, Windows Multipoint Server 2012 Premium, and so on, and every one of those has vastly different bugs, tweaks, etc. that we have to learn the ins and out of. In our spare time. You know, in that time between work, family, chores, and forget personal time.

  • Mad:

    So what they are saying is that they want techs who are trying to learn how to use their products to go back to the old way of learning on pirated software vs. learning on paid Technet software. Makes sense.


  • Cody Skidmore:

    I disagree. The alternatives Microsoft offers are inadequate. Many including myself setup labs for long-term research. Time spans we can dedicate to this research are non-linear which is why we use TechNet.

    TechNet is also the primary resource many use for self-paced learning allowing them to develop a deep understanding of Microsoft products.

    If you read comments left on the TechNet petition, you’ll note this is common. The petition can be found at the following link.

    I only speak for myself but I urge Microsoft to find a better solution.

    With regards,

    Cody Skidmore

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