Ian Moulster's blog

A Microsoft employee translating Microsoft technology into plain English

Want to develop a .NET product but can't justify the cost of an MSDN subscription?

Want to develop a .NET product but can't justify the cost of an MSDN subscription?

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One of my colleagues from the ISV team was talking to me recently about the difficulties many developers face with getting into .NET development. She was talking specifically about developers who have a great idea for a product based on .NET but who can't justify buying an MSDN subscription to get Visual Studio, XP/Vista, Win Server 2003, SQL Server, Biztalk, etc etc.

She went on to tell me about a low cost way of getting around this: Something called Empower. What is it? Quite simply it's heavily discounted MSDN subscription for developers who are building a product for resale (ie what we called Independent Software Vendors or ISVs). It costs about £260 to get onto the programme in the UK, similar levels elsewhere in the world.

The actual deal is slightly more complicated than just an MSDN sub - you get some extra pieces on top, but also have some restrictions - but what it boils down to is a whole truckload of software that you can use to build your app.

Take a look at this link for more details, this is a great offer and I wish more people knew about it. In fact, I wish I'd known about it before I joined Microsoft...

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  • Thanks for mentioning this. I received an email about this a while back, but by the time I could convince myself I should enroll in the program, I could no longer find the email.  Now I know where to go look for this program.  Again, many thanks.
  • Is the MSDN licence perpetual, or limited to the
    one/two years of the subcription?

  • Julian - the licence you obtain via Empower is limited to 12 months, but can be renewed on an annual basis. Which is still a really good deal of course.

    Rgds Ian.
  • How is this different to TechNet Plus?

    With TNP - the license is perpetual at least.
  • Hi Thomas,

    TechNet Plus licenses are not perpetual. They are an annual license.

    Also, TechNet Plus does not contain any developer tools ie no Visual Studio.

    And of course TechNet Plus costs more than Empower.

    However it's worth pointing out that these packages are aimed at different people and have different capabilities, and therefore it's not really a good comparison to make.
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