On July 1, 2013, Microsoft announced the end of the 15 year program, TechNet Subscriptions. Since then, many have tried to guess the real reasons behind Microsoft's decision to end the program because the substitutes Microsoft left in place, though free offerings, are just not adequate. IT used TechNet as a means to obtain full software packages for labs and testing. The next closest thing, an MSDN subscription, is almost twice the price of a TechNet subscription.
Initially, many considered the closing of TechNet subscriptions as a means to help curb piracy of Microsoft software products. But, as time has progressed, and realizing that the free alternatives are all "cloud" solutions, the tin foil hats have come out and a common belief is that Microsoft shut down TechNet subscriptions in a highly calculated and nefarious plot to dislodge the IT profession and force companies to Windows Azure where profits actually exist. Seriously, though, if Microsoft were that smart don't you think the Surface RT would have been more successful? What do you think is the real reason?
As I noted in Can the IT Community Save TechNet?, a community uprising was staged in the form of an online petition, led by Cody Skidmore, a developer for a large insurance company. The petition, entitled, Continue TechNet Or Create An Affordable Alternative To MSDN, sought to gather enough signatures to get attention from Microsoft so they would consider reinstating TechNet subscriptions, or at least, provide an affordable alternative.
I can tell you that Microsoft is listening. Microsoft is watching online, and utilizing their MVPs to collect and forward evidence that customers are unhappy. But, really, it doesn't take an MVP to see an issue as large this. Many, many people have taken to blogs and articles to voice their anger. A quick Bing search for the string "technet subscription" will substantiate the trend. No MVP needed. And, that's good news, particularly when MVPs are being utilized more as marketing tools these days.
My last check-in on the community's grass roots effort was on July 2, 2013, so I thought it was time for an update. The petition organizer, Cody Skidmore, has been very active with email alerts to petition signers. I find an email update in my inbox every few days. He's also been extremely active locating new coverage and promoting the community's values and views. Based on his activity, and the value of the activity, Cody may have a career in politics. I hope to secure an interview with Cody soon, so check back.
As of July 22, 2013, the petition has over 6,500 signed supporters from all over the globe. I'm not sure how many total TechNet Subscribers there were when Microsoft announced shuttering the service, but 6,500 signers is monumental, and I fully expect the number to continue growing as more people learn of the community effort (the main reason for my update) and the subscriptions actually start to run out.
If this news is reaching you for the first time, I highly suggest showing your support by jumping out to the petition and giving it your signature.
You can sign here: Continue TechNet Or Create An Affordable Alternative To MSDN