DonXML was discussing the various prices he has seen on the web for MSDN subscriptions, and being from MSDN I was a little curious. I asked around, and it turns out we have a canned response to this question that you might find helpful (or not).
    The sheer volume and ever changing number of offers, resellers, businesses, marketing programs and selling that takes place on the global commerce stage precludes Microsoft from being in a position to validate every MSDN subscription offer in the market. As is the basis for any general purchasing decision you may make, it is in your best interest to thoroughly investigate who you are buying anything from. Generally speaking, we have found that the following are some common sense warning signs to look out for (but by no means limited to)...

  • A price that is "too good to be true"
  • Suspicious methods of delivery and/or payment requirements
  • Retail software distributed in jewel cases only, or brown boxes, rather than full-color retail boxes which clearly display the "authentic product" markers such as the tamper resistant Microsoft Authentic Product Holograms or Foils etc. that are a part of normal Microsoft product packaging
  • Software marked with a phrase, such as "For distribution with a new PC only" or "Special CD - for licensed customers only," that does not accurately describe the transaction

  • When you order an individual MSDN Subscription, you should receive an MSDN box with an activation card inside. You can use the information on the card to activate your subscription online, via phone, fax or mail. If a reseller does not send you an MSDN box with an activation card, they are not following the standard delivery for MSDN Subscriptions.

    Finally, there are sites designed to provide education on what you should receive when acquiring software licenses or how to tell if what you are seeing is genuine Microsoft software - Visit http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/ to learn more about how Microsoft licensing programs work and the options that are available to consumers. Visit http://www.microsoft.com/piracy/default.asp to learn how to tell if what you are looking at is genuine Microsoft software.



Not sure if that will help, but we are generally curious about any price that is more than 10% discounted off the price from MSFT (although this is certainly possible). Personally, I would be reassured by the comment posted in response DonXML's post from someone (Dave Dombrowski) who bought from vlane and was happy with what they received. Of course, the free PocketPC with subscription deal currently on from MSFT sounds pretty good too :)