Microsoft announced today that the company is revamping its Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) subscription service offerings to include five, rather than the previous three, choices. MSDN will now offer Library, Operating Systems, Professional, Enterprise, and Universal subscriptions, with annual prices ranging from $200 to $2800. The company says that the wider range of offerings gives all developers products that match their needs as the industry transitions into an era of XML-based Web services and applications. The new offerings are effective immediately.

"MSDN has delivered on software as a service for many years," said Tom Button, vice president of developer tools at Microsoft. "In that time, we have received a lot of feedback from our customers that has helped us improve the program and provide more value for developers. Our business depends on the success of Microsoft developers worldwide, and the new MSDN levels provide improved service and richer resources so developers can focus squarely on successfully building Web applications and XML Web services."

The $200 MSDN Library subscription provides basic technical resources, such as documentation and code samples. The next subscription, MSDN Operating Systems, will cost $700 a year and will offer all Microsoft's OSs, Software Development Kits (SDKs), and Device Driver Kits (DDKs). MSDN Professional includes everything in MSDN Operating Systems and adds Visual Studio Professional and Visual FoxPro; it will cost $1200 a year. MSDN Enterprise builds on MSDN Professional and adds Visual Studio Enterprise Edition, Visual SourceSafe, and developer versions of Commerce Server, Exchange Server, Host Integration Server (HIS), and SQL Server; this version will cost $2200. Finally, developers can opt for the MSDN Universal subscription, a $2800 product that includes everything in MSDN Enterprise and adds developer versions of all .NET Server products (Application Center, BizTalk Server, Commerce Server, Content Management Server, Exchange Server, HIS, Internet Security and Acceleration Server, Mobile Information Server, Operations Management, SharePoint Portal Server, SQL Server, and Systems Management Server), MapPoint, Microsoft Office Developer Edition, Project, and Visio. For more information about the individual subscription offerings, refer to the MSDN Web site.

In addition, Microsoft is offering a service called MSDN Academic Alliance (MAA), which is targeted at computer science, engineering, and information systems departments in colleges and universities. For $800 a year, these institutions can access the latest Microsoft developer tools, platforms, and servers. For more information, visit the MAA Web site.