| By Woody Leonhard |
If you qualify, a Microsoft TechNet subscription lets you download nearly every application Microsoft sells, all for a paltry $199.
It’s completely legitimate — so long as you’re not using the software for work but rather evaluating its features, testing its performance, or otherwise assessing its suitability for yourself or others.
Technet: One source for almost all MS apps
Microsoft invented TechNet years ago to help developers and other IT professionals acquire the latest versions of Microsoft software at a reasonable price. As far back as 1994, I would anxiously await my sporadic fix of new TechNet CDs — a gold mine of Microsoft’s latest products and reference materials, all costing a fraction of what I’d have to pay in a store.
TechNet members also had reasonably direct access to Microsoft’s best and brightest developers, who helped guide you through particularly thorny problems. It was a sweet deal.
In those days, joining TechNet wasn’t easy and few people knew about it. Fast-forward 16 years, and much has changed. Many professional developers have moved to the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN), where they get red-carpet treatment — for a mere $10,000 or so per year.
Those of us with less pecuniary power stuck with TechNet, which continues to provide one of the great bargains for folks who evaluate Microsoft software.