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Microsoft slashes number of TechNet keys for subscribers

Windows orb

By Barry Collins

Posted on 22 Mar 2012 at 09:14

Microsoft is reducing the number of Windows and Office product keys TechNet subscribers can obtain, in an attempt to thwart piracy.

TechNet is Microsoft's long-running subscription package for IT professionals, which allows them to get access to the full gamut of Microsoft software for an annual subscription fee.

The TechNet Standard subscription, for example, gives access to most of Microsoft's full products for $199 a year, including Windows and Office.

Two years ago, Microsoft cut the number of product keys for each product down from ten to five, in a bid to thwart piracy. Now, as first spotted by ZDNet's Ed Bott, Microsoft is reducing that number to just three keys per product, once again citing piracy as the reason.

Microsoft warns that once the maximum number of keys has been allocated for each product, no more will be made available without the purchase of an additional subscription. However, each key can have multiple activations.

In a statement, Microsoft said its hand had been forced by high levels of piracy on its subcription packages. "Microsoft offers discounted and free products for evaluation through a variety of programmatic offerings," Microsoft said in a statement sent to PC Pro.

"Over the past few months, pirates have exploited these programs and systems to obtain free or lower cost genuine product and have then resold at significant profit margins, depriving Microsoft and its partners of legitimate revenue and leaving users with an improperly licensed and unsupported product.

"Significantly lower prices have helped to undermine channel integrity and drive additional corruption. These changes help us mitigate piracy while helping us serve legitimate customers."

TechNet software is officially only meant to be used for evaluation purposes.

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User comments

They should just disable activation over the internet for technet keys. The phone activation process is pretty simple, and it'll be immediately obvious to any "customer" of a pirate that the key is restricted. After all, this is about stopping the pirates from selling it on, right?

By eggjones on 22 Mar 2012

@eggjones

I am not convinced that will help.
However a clear indication that the installation is for testing only would make sense. Some versions of Office already display a not for commercial use message at the top of the window.

By tirons1 on 22 Mar 2012

TechNet Subscribers

This could be solved very easily, when the subscription is purchased a letter could be posted to the organisation that purchased the subscription, this would contain an activation key for that subscription, therefore up to a point Microsoft would know who is using these keys.
I pay for my subscription by company credit card, surely every pirate is doing the same, Microsoft do have an avenue to investigate this piracy.
I use my subscriptions to keep myself up to date with Microsoft technologies, as I am a freelance contractor, this measure does not really have any impact on me, as I do all my training using VMWare Workstation on the same hardware so in essence I am activating on the same bit of kit, however sometimes I do require to test on more than one physical machine.
I hope this policy change does not indeed have any impact on the wider community.
I would like to pose a question to Barry Collins, “Microsoft warns that once the maximum number of keys has been allocated for each product, no more will be made available without the purchase of an additional subscription. However, each key can have multiple activations.”
Microsoft says product keys will have multiple activations, is that on the same physical hardware?, or are we permitted to use the same key on different hardware.

By Chrisfjr1300 on 22 Mar 2012

TechNet keys

This could be solved very easily, when the subscription is purchased a letter could be posted to the organisation that purchased the subscription, this would contain an activation key for that subscription, therefore up to a point Microsoft would know who is using these keys.
I pay for my subscription by company credit card, surely every pirate is doing the same, Microsoft do have an avenue to investigate this piracy.
I use my subscriptions to keep myself up to date with Microsoft technologies, as I am a freelance contractor, this measure does not really have any impact on me, as I do all my training using VMWare Workstation on the same hardware so in essence I am activating on the same bit of kit, however sometimes I do require to test on more than one physical machine.
I hope this policy change does not indeed have any impact on the wider community.
I would like to pose a question to Barry Collins, “Microsoft warns that once the maximum number of keys has been allocated for each product, no more will be made available without the purchase of an additional subscription. However, each key can have multiple activations.”
Microsoft says product keys will have multiple activations, is that on the same physical hardware?, or are we permitted to use the same key on different hardware.

By Chrisfjr1300 on 22 Mar 2012

Only one

I'm an MCT (Microsoft Trainer) and I only get 1 key per product in my TechNet subscription. That really isnt enough to be useful.

Once again, anti piracy measures spoil the experience of genuine users.

By Stiggy on 22 Mar 2012

Is the motive "piracy" - really?

Why not change the process for technet activations?

Users request activation and supply an email address. The address is sent an activation code and the action is logged and emailed to the technet account holder. If the email is not part of the organisation, then that request won't be forwarded. Microsoft already do something similar with "family safety".
Better still, a list of "approved installers" emails could be listed, so only those added to the technet account can received activation codes.
It's not rocket science, but simply halving the service paid for is their "acceptable" anti-piracy solution.

By cheysuli on 22 Mar 2012

Stupid posts here

I think the comments posted here are just ridiculous. For one thing, people PAY real money for this, it's not stolen. And not all testers are an "organization".

Your just making things much worse for everyone with all this unnecessary nonsense. It's already close to being not worth buying anymore. If someone wanted the software they would just get the warez version. It would also have all the nonsense removed.

By Jz100 on 1 Apr 2012

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