(this was a response to the Australian Developer List run by Peter Stanski)
Many of you may already know this but most my responsibilities are focused around your perceptions of Microsoft (ie not sales or revenue) so it may seem strange that I have strong feelings on this topic. MSDN Subscriptions (with MSDN flash and the Stanski List) are one of the few ways we can maintain a connection with developers. I felt so strongly about this, upon arriving in Australia that I tried to eliminate shipping Visual Studio without a MSDN subscriptions(this was blocked for both process and legal “bundling” reasons). There are many other additional reasons in having an MSDN Subscription and the *great guys in charge of Australian developer tools licensing: Stuart White and Arabind Coomaraswamy put together the document below for your benefit.
*It is strange for me to get along with licensing folks but Stuart and Arabind really kick butt, are great guys and do a great job of empathizing with our pain in untangling this maze and finding you the best option for your dollar. If you have more questions on VS, VSTS or TFS licensing I HIGHLY recommend dropping them a line – I do this ALL the time and they always help (or at least make me feel better<g>)
Their email addresses are:
Microsoft caters for many “categories” of customers in the development world including Enthusiasts, students, self employed contract developers, micro ISV’s, large commercial ISV’s and in-house software development organizations both large and small. As a result of this we offer a range of product and subscriptions offerings as we cannot apply a one-size-fits-all policy to this diverse set of customers.
For customers who have restricted access to funds we offer the option to purchase a version specific license for a developer tool (without attaching a MSDN subscription).
Benefits: Low cost
You get the tool you need to get the job done
The customers is restricted use of the specific version of the development tool that they have purchased – no guaranteed future upgrades to the development tool they are licensed for.
No access to MSDN benefits such as:
1. Continuous access to new software and technical resources including early access to Windows Vista and Office 2007. During the term of your subscription, you are entitled to upgrades to your subscription software and to select new releases and product betas, in addition to resources such as software and hardware development kits and service packs.
2. Latest Microsoft Operating Systems. Including: Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows XP SP2 Professional 32 and 64-bit Editions, Home Edition, Media Center Edition 2005 and Tablet PC Edition, plus pre-releases version of Windows Vista. unlimited Test, development and demonstration use
3. Broad range of the latest Microsoft Windows Server System products. Including: SQL Server 2005, Exchange Server 2003, BizTalk Server 2004, Commerce Server 2002, Host Integration Server 2000, Application Center 2000, Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2004, SharePoint Portal Server 2003, and Content Management Server 2002. unlimited Test, development and demonstration use.
4. Latest Microsoft productivity applications. Including editions of: Office Professional 2003, Visio 2003, Project 2003 (including Project Server), InfoPath 2003, OneNote 2003 and MapPoint 2004. Usage rights are limited to development and testing. In addition to development and testing use rights, one installation of Office Professional 2003 may be used for general business use. Visio Standard and Project Standard may also be used for general business use related to development and test.
5. Technical support includes unlimited usage of MSDN Managed Newsgroups for online support with a guaranteed response time of two business days, phone-based support incidents, and free access to MSDN Online Concierge for non-technical questions regarding navigation of the MSDN site, Knowledge Base article searches, and MSDN Subscriber Downloads.
6. Continuously updated technical content is available through the MSDN Library, which offers comprehensive programming information, code samples, sample applications, technical documentation and articles, and the Microsoft Developer Knowledge Base.
(Added by Chuck)
7. Relationship with Microsoft. By subscribing to the Microsoft Developer Network you will receive invitations to free training, discounts to paid events and inclusion into the largest community in the world of professional developers.
8. More secure and reliable systems. By proactively receiving the latest security patches you will solve one of the largest security issues faced by IT Professionals: running down the latest security patches and bug fixes. With a MSDN subscription these updates will automatically be sent to you.
So this is the time that each individual customer, both corporate and individual, need to evaluate how much they have to spend versus the benefit they can associate from having the MSDN subscription. For individual / enthusiast / hobbyist type customers the MSDN subscription element may be of very little value, however for folks doing professional development the MSDN subscription provides (on an unlimited basis) all of our OS’s and server products for development and test purposes (Premium subscription) without paying another cent is of immense value. Think of how much it would cost to build up a dev/test environment consisting of Windows Server 2003, SQL Server and Biztalk by licensing all these components individually – this would very quickly run into $10,000’s . For a very low price of a MSDN subscription you have all this build in – not a bad deal if you need it!
Additionally developers with a MSDN premium subscription get a copy of Office Pro, Visio and Project that they can use for personal productivity – these 3 products alone will set the average customer back over $4000 – that just about covers the cost of a new MSDN Premium Subscription.
What I have not even discussed here is all the FREE stuff including developer tools and MSDN subscriptions our partner program members get. This should be exploited by partners who may not be getting all the value from their Microsoft Partner program membership.
Hope this provides a little more insight into the value of a MSDN subscription