With the recent launch of Visual Studio 2008 many developers within our Partner community are chomping at the bit to get their hands on the latest copy of the software. Lately, I've received requests from a number of partner developers seeking clarification on what developer tools they do and do not have access to as a member of a Microsoft Partner Organization. Here's what I have learned.
First and foremost, you can find complete details on the products available to you as a Microsoft Partner on the Microsoft Partner Portal (MSPP) under Program Membership Value and Benefits (left pane). According to the web site, if you are a Microsoft Certified or Gold Certified Partner, you may use the licenses described in the sections on this page to run your businesses and for internal employee training only. These licenses must not be resold, used for personal purposes, or used for customer training. Licenses are provided for the latest released versions of Microsoft software only.
Well based on this information it still wasn't clear to me on the licensing limits, free or otherwise, so I reached out to a couple of developer tools licensing experts and here is what they shared with me:
Now some partners organizations have multiple "sister" locations which are independently registered in the MSPP database. In this particular case it is important to understand that their are licensing caps any group of affiliated companies may accrue which may impact your download rights. I suggest that if this situation applies to your organization or if you have additional developer tools licensing questions, reach out to an Evangelist near you, you can find them here (Meet Your Local Microsoft Evangelists), and ask that they connect you with the Developer Solution Sales Specialist in your area. For all other product licensing questions refer to the program membership support page on the Microsoft Partner Portal (MSPP).
Now that you are armed with this information, it should be pretty clear that there are a number of licenses available to Certified and Gold Certified Partners. However, how these are managed and allocated is at the discretion of your organization so I strongly encourage you to meet with your internal software asset manager to determine your rights for downloading and installing the software.
Lastly, if you do not know your MSPP ID you will not have carte blanche access to the entire MSPP site. You'll need to inquire within your organization about your MSPP ID. Once you have the ID in-hand refer to my earlier posting on the new U.S. partner learning center to learn how to go about associating your MSPPID to your Live or Hotmail account.