Since the announcement that Microsoft is ending its 15 year TechNet subscription program, there has been a flurry of activity in the news and in the community about the movement to ensure Microsoft is aware of customer disappointment. In addition to an online petition to reinstate TechNet, a key community has grown up, affording supporters the opportunity to congregate, share lobbying activities, and collaborate on next-steps. Led by Cody Skidmore and hosted by myITforum.com, the email list has been highly active since its creation.
You can join the online community here: Save TechNet
Over the weekend, community members have responded with their experiences of contacting various teams and people within Microsoft. Since the announcement, it appears Microsoft has had to develop processes and procedures for dealing with the customer complaints, producing form letters to ensure their messaging is uniform and follows their current TechNet transition plans. This is a good indication that the Save TechNet community is having an effect. Hopefully, Microsoft is aware by now that this issue is not going away until they address it correctly.
If you are contacting TechNet support yourself, or even Steve Ballmer as some have suggested, the following two emails is what you can expect to receive back in response. If receiving form letters is not your idea of the complaint being addressed correctly, feel free push back for more information.
Response to email sent to TechNet Support
Several emails have been sent to TechNet support to voice concerns over the cancelling of the program. Despite the various responses returning with a different addressee, the response emails are all the same, i.e., a form letter.
Here's the TechNet Support response:
I am a member of the TechNet Priority Support team and I have received your case. I understand that you wanted to share your feedback regarding the retirement of the paid TechNet subscription services model. I wanted to thank you for sharing this feedback with our team. Your feedback is incredibly valuable to us and helps to shape our policies. We do have a process in place to gather and share your feedback with the appropriate teams wanted to assure you that the feedback you provided will be forwarded to the appropriate team as soon as this case is closed.
I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience you have experienced as a result of this announcement, but I did want to advise that this is merely the retirement of the TechNet program as a paid subscription service. As the previous agent indicated as well as our online FAQ, the TechNet program will be focusing more towards free evaluation experiences and resources. This includes an expanded TechNet Evaluation Center, Microsoft Virtual Academy, and TechNet Forums. I know that you mentioned Windows Server 2012 specifically in an earlier email and I wanted to advise that we do have a 180 day free trial of this software which is fully featured at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/bb291020.aspx.
There will still be new software download releases and you will still maintain access to your subscription benefits through the life of your subscription. Look forward to even more expanded free offerings from the TechNet subscription alternatives!
In order to forward this feedback successfully, I will need to close this case on my end. Thank you again for being such a valuable member of the TechNet program. I sincerely appreciate your feedback in regards to this matter! Before I proceed with closing this case, however, I wanted to ensure that I have received all your feedback successfully before forwarding this feedback appropriately.
If there is anything else I can do for you, or you have any additional questions or comments, please feel free to contact me. You can reply directly to this email or, for support by phone, please call 800-344-2121. My department is available Monday through Friday, from 5:30AM to 5:30PM PST.
Thank you for contacting Microsoft and have a wonderful weekend!
Response based on an email sent directly to Steve Ballmer
There have been a slew of people who have sent emails directly to Steve Ballmer's inbox. It appears those are now being forwarded to the TechNet group. I surmise, someone just setup an inbox rule that auto-forwards emails containing TechNet complaints. Notice in the response that Microsoft is committed to helping customers during the transition phase, meaning there's still no movement to change the decision to kill off TechNet subscriptions.
Here's the response back from TechNet when sent to Steve Ballmer's inbox:
Thank you for submitting your feedback regarding TechNet.
As IT trends and business dynamics have evolved, so has Microsoft’s set of offerings for IT professionals who are looking to learn, evaluate and deploy Microsoft technologies and services. In recent years, we have seen a usage shift from paid to free evaluation experiences and resources. As a result, Microsoft has decided to retire the TechNet Subscriptions service and will discontinue sales on August 31, 2013.
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.
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. Please visit http://technet.microsoft.com/subscriptions/ for more information.
Your feedback is important and we appreciate you taking the time to contact us. The petition and all feedback has been provided to our teams.
If you need to get caught up, here's some additional coverage on the end of TechNet Subscriptions: