Microsoft has announced the closure of the TechNet subscriptions by the next August 31st. After almost 15 years of life, IT professionals will no longer be able to download software from the Redmond giant. However, the technical support forum and TechNet blogs will continue to serve the existing subscribers. Those who want to purchase or renew an existing subscription can do it until August 31st, 2013 and can activate before September 30th, 2013.
TechNet allows IT Professionals to download the evaluation copy of latest software to test the server or desktop operating system (and also the applications) before the general distribution. Microsoft has stated
Microsoft will focus on growing and improving our free offerings for IT professionals, including evaluation resources through the TechNet Evaluation Center, expert-led learning through the Microsoft Virtual Academy, and community-moderated technical support through the TechNet Forums.
Microsoft reduced the number of product keys from 10 to 5 in 2010, and from 5 to 3 in 2012 as TechNet subscriptions have always been a major source of piracy. After few hours of product launch, the ISO images of the software could be downloaded from P2P networks. Indeed, some subscribers directly sell serials or DVD. Microsoft admits that the TechNet Subscription service has been compromised by piracy and misuse in the past. However, this is not the only reason that led to the closure of the service.
Now, MSDN is the only alternative remained, but the cost of subscription is much higher. It starts at $699/Year for MSDN Operating System, reaches at $13,299/Year for Visual Studio Ultimate with MSDN package.