I've just returned from an epic journey, to find the answers to my questions on the MSDN pricing changes for Visual Studio Team System. I can't say it was easy, but I can say it has changed me forever.

I started my journey in the office, asking colleagues, and scouring internal and external web sites, seeking the truth, only to be disappointed by misleading information and offers of free music albums. Take heart friends, from my quest I did not stray.

I eventually came across the Master Tonikay, the ancient sage of licensing. Trust me, he didn't want to give up the secrets to VS costing easily, but as you can see from the picture below (that's me on the left), I wasn't about to walk away without answers.

 

I have formulated my findings into the following points:

  • For MSDN Universal subscribers, the changes mean we get access to all the software we currently get now plus one of either Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Architects, Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Developers, or Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Testers. So as it turns out, we actually get more product, for less money, because Visual Studio 2005 Professional with MSDN Premium will actually be cheaper than MSDN Universal is, and we get one of the new Team System editions too.
  • For those who decide to go all the way, they will purchase Team Suite, which will give us access to all team editions of Visual Studio 2005.

I think the major issue which has led to a lot of frustration has been around what becomes of MSDN Universal, or as we like to think of it, all you can eat, has been how we now get access to "all" the development tools.

The key thing to remember here is that while MSDN Universal gave us access to "all" the development products (including OS and Office), it was not really about getting it all. It was just that MSDN Universal was the top most product in the stack, as there was also other versions of MSDN, like Professional and Enterprise.

With the release of Team System, the stack has changed, and now there is Team Suite, which offers way more goodies than MSDN Universal did. And for those who don't want all the features of Team System, such as integrated Source Code Control, Project Management, Reporting, and full life-cycle testing, Visual Studio 2005 Professional with MSDN Premium will be perfect. For those that do need all those tools, Team Suite will be the best option. Yes, the stack has changed, and yes, Team Suite is more expensive than MSDN Universal now, but jeez, just look at what VSTS will bring to the table. For all that VSTS will offer, I think the extra $$$$ is well worth it.

Also, here are some good links on how the licensing is going to work: