Microsoft will retire its TechNet subscription service in favour of growing its free offerings, the company has announced.
IT professionals can purchase TechNet subscriptions until 31 August and have until 30 September to activate those accounts. "Microsoft will continue to honor all existing TechNet Subscriptions. Subscribers with active accounts may continue to access program benefits until their current subscription period concludes," the company said.
TechNet is a resource for IT professionals who want more information about Microsoft products. Subscriptions provided early looks at upcoming Microsoft products, including new versions of its operating systems. According to Redmond, however, "we have seen a usage shift from paid to free evaluation experiences and resources," prompting Microsoft to shutter the subscription part of TechNet.
"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 continued.
TechNet non-volume subscriptions range from £133.55 for standard, £234.21 for professional retail, and £401.99 for professional with media, which provide varying levels of support and access. The TechNet benefits portal and the subscriber downloads page will be live for these customers until 30 September 2014.
The TechNet website will remain online. "We are committed to helping customers through this transition phase and will remain focused on providing IT professionals with free access to a broad set of TechNet assets that support the needs of IT Professionals around the world," Microsoft said.
More details are available on the TechNet FAQ page.