Microsoft announced today that it is planning on terminating its Technet program. What does this mean? First, its important to know small developers use technet licenses to install Microsoft products such as Operating Systems, M$ Office, Share Point etc. on test systems and virtual machines. This makes it easier to test a complex software package for 3-6 months while it is being built.
Eliminating technet subscriptions means small developers will have a harder time building for (and supporting) Microsoft systems as we are now expected to move from a 150/year technet subscription to a 2,500/year MSDN or use Evaluation Software which requires constant reinstallation and full OS reimaging throughout your project livecycle – adding additional work and risk. Repacking and configuring most systems can take 20 human hours of effort.
Its important to keep a critical eye on programs such as this. When compared to other operating system offerings, where the OS is typically free or very cheap and IDE’s for developers are free (compared to Microsoft where you are expected to pay hundreds of dollars) and its easy to see why Microsoft is still struggling to maintain its hold on the market.
On the flipside, they argue this will increase sales buy forcing technet subscribers to purchase full copies of M$ products for long duration testing. However, most analysts believe this will simply increase software piracy where previously M$ at least brought in some money prior to the change.
Edited to make some minor changes