"Microsoft is retiring the TechNet Subscriptions service to focus on growing its free offerings," Microsoft said on the TechNet site.
The service offered what amounted to a perpetual software license, for "evaluation purposes" only, for everything from Dynamics to Office to SharePoint to Windows and Windows Server. Microsoft said it will stop selling new TechNet subscriptions on Aug. 31. The last day to activate purchased subscriptions, which run for 12 months, will be Sept. 30 -- which means the last TechNet subscriptions will disappear into IT history as of Sept. 30, 2014.
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"As IT trends and business dynamics have evolved, so has Microsoft’s set of offerings for IT professionals who are looking to learn, evaluate and deploy Microsoft technologies and services," Microsoft said. "In recent years, we have seen a usage shift from paid to free evaluation experiences and resources."
The download-only version of TechNet Professional runs $349 for a new subscription. (Renewals were $249.) By comparison, the full downloadable version of Office 2013 Professional alone will run you nearly $400 in the Microsoft Store, and that only covers a single installation. Among a TechNet subscription's benefits: As long as the subscription was active, you could install the software on any device, home or office.