Microsoft Offers Free TechNet Plus Subscriptions
Article by George Norman
On 03 Jun 2009
You don’t normally see Microsoft giving out free stuff, except of course when they are making various software products available for download - but the company usually does that because the software needs testing (like Windows 7 RC). But in the case of TechNet Plus subscriptions, which cost $349 (download only) and $599 (download and DVD shipments), you would never expect the Redmond-based company to just give them away for free, now would you?

Despite our general beliefs regarding what Microsoft would and would not do, it seems that they are indeed giving hundreds of dollars worth of TechNet Plus subscriptions away for free. The weirdest thing is that no one really knows what is going on here, leaving some to wildly (but amusingly) speculate. Take for example DownloadSquad’s Lee Mathews, who believes someone on the Microsoft team got drunk, otherwise we wouldn’t see this phenomenon. In his defense, he does admit that he has no actual proof to back these claims up, but you know something is up when Microsoft just decides to remove the price tag from one of its products.


How to get your free TechNet Plus subscription in 3 easy steps

Step1. Click the TechNet link that corresponds to your country (Canada, US of A, UK). Now click “Buy” and take the time to fill out the required info (name, address, postal code, etc). Provide a valid address if you are going to need the DVD media for the software you will put to the test. If you are not going to need that DVD media, provide whatever address you want to.

Step 2. Visit the TechNet Subscriptions Benefits Portal and sign in. Please note that you may be asked to re-sign in with your Windows Live ID.

Step 3. Register by providing your first and last name and email address (as they appear in your “Ship to”) and by providing your Benefit Access Number. After you accept the license terms the registration process is completer and you can access online benefits like Subscriber Downloads from TechNet Subscriptions Management.

According to Ars Technica’s Emil Protalinski the whole process “worked like a charm” and it only took a few minutes to complete. And according to Lee Mathews (we mentioned him above), he’s been very successful in getting keys from Microsoft via the free TechNet Plus subscription.

A few words of warning:
- The free TechNet Plus subscriptions offer is available through September 30th.
- You may run into some problems when attempting to get new keys or when trying to see old ones. The trouble I am talking about is an error message that says “There was an error while trying to retrieve requested key information and we cannot process your request.” The route of this issue is to be found with Microsoft’s servers taking a pounding (presumably).

UPDATE: It seems that Microsoft will not give away free TechNet Plus subscriptions after all. It seems that access to this offer was meant only for “those invited through the ITAC program, in which you had to fill out a survey and be accepted as a member of ITAC before being sent an invitation to the TechNet Pilot program,” a Microsoft TechNet Customer Service Manager said.

Since numerous people took advantage of this slipup and downloaded software keys, Microsoft is currently considering blacklisting these product keys. Additional details
available here.

Tags: Microsoft, TechNet Plus
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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