The following e-mail just went out to all MSDN subscribers. Here's a copy of the e-mail in case you're an MSDN subscriber and didn't receive it, or in case you aren't currently an MSDN subscriber and are wondering how an MSDN subscription might benefit you.

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Dear MSDN Subscriber:

On Monday, October 19th, we announced a lot of news. As you have surely noticed, the MSDN site got a serious overhaul. We released a whole new look, updated the Dev Center layout and experience, and capped it off with the new MSDN logo signifying how the future of development is today. As an MSDN subscriber, you should be aware of the key changes we’re making - both now and when Visual Studio 2010 releases - and how these will benefit you. We get a lot of great feedback from our subscribers on a regular basis and this really was the foundation for the changes we’re making. First of all, here are the things you can enjoy right away:

  • Microsoft E-Learning: Take advantage of this new benefit for all MSDN subscribers and stay up to date on Microsoft technologies to keep your skills fresh. (Oh, and that might help make that training budget go a bit farther too.) Think of this as MSDN’s investment in your future, just because you’re a subscriber.
  • Priority support in MSDN Forums: You spoke and we listened. Subscribers are making very regular use of MSDN Forums instead of newsgroups because the experience is so much better in Forums. We’re now providing 2-business-day guaranteed response to your questions in many MSDN Forums, with more coming in early 2010 as we transition our support over from newsgroups.

We’ve also made a number of more subtle changes to improve your experience, including 3 different versions of the MSDN Library (classic, script-free, and lightweight) for faster responsiveness. Try it and see for yourself. And we added support for downloading from MSDN Subscriber Downloads using a Mac and other platforms and browsers.

Windows® Azure™: A very important part of our announcements have to do with Windows Azure. Please read this one carefully. This is a huge investment we’re making in our MSDN subscribers and some very interesting new territory. Windows Azure is our new cloud computing platform. We’re making a bet that the people who will really be able to take advantage of this new application paradigm will be MSDN subscribers like you, people who build applications for a living and out of a personal passion for great apps. 

Key points for Windows Azure:

  1. Get started using the Windows Azure CTP today.
  2. Know that when we launch Windows Azure commercially (i.e., when we formally launch and start charging for the services), our MSDN Premium subscribers will get a whole lot of free service as part of the subscription. See details.

So what do I get when Visual Studio 2010 launches? Visual Studio 2010 is a very significant release. Tons of new features. Significant improvements in many, many areas. This is big. And we’re really simplifying the product line like many of you asked us to. A key announcement that you need to know about is what we’re calling the “Ultimate Offer” - making sure that every MSDN subscriber gets equal or greater value (in many cases, a lot greater) as we transition subscriptions into the new and simplified Visual Studio 2010 product lineup.

Here’s how subscription levels will transition:

If you have this active subscription on March 22, 2010 > then your subscription will become this and you’ll get everything you had before, plus:

  • Visual Studio Team System Team Suite with MSDN Premium > Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate with MSDN > Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate, Team Foundation Server 2010 + CAL
  • Visual Studio Team System editions with MSDN Premium (Architecture, Database, Development, Test) > Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate with MSDN > Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate, Team Foundation Server 2010 + CAL
  • Visual Studio Professional with MSDN Premium > Visual Studio 2010 Premium with MSDN > Visual Studio 2010 Premium, Team Foundation Server 2010 + CAL
  • Visual Studio Professional with MSDN Professional > Visual Studio 2010 Professional with MSDN > Visual Studio 2010 Professional, Team Foundation Server 2010 + CAL
  • Visual Studio Professional with MSDN Embedded > Visual Studio 2010 Professional with MSDN Embedded >Visual Studio 2010 Professional
  • MSDN Operating Systems > MSDN Operating Systems 

See details of the Ultimate Offer for devs.

As you can see, it really pays to have MSDN Premium - that’s how you can get our most powerful and advanced tools when Visual Studio 2010 releases. This is a serious upgrade.

Team Foundation Server 2010: As you can see above, most subscribers will get Team Foundation Server as part of their subscription. No, not Workgroup Edition with a 5-user limit. The full version. TFS 2010 offers two set up choices: Basic and Advanced. Basic is quick and ideal for replacing Visual SourceSafe. Advanced provides all the power of TFS for source control, builds, work-item tracking, reporting, testing, and more. Up until now, TFS had to be purchased separately so this is a big new benefit. Start using the Team Foundation Server 2010 beta 2 now, you’re really going to like it. And when it releases, you’re covered for the full version.

Thank you for your continued business.  We’ll keep the good things coming.

James Rice
Business Manager, MSDN Subscriptions

David Salamon
Product Manager, Visual Studio and MSDN