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BLOG: Start listening to your customers, Microsoft

Marco Chiappetta | Aug. 1, 2013
Microsoft would do itself some good by putting on their listening ears and being a little more proactive.

Microsoft's latest genius move, which completely ignores the needs of current customers, is the discontinuation of TechNet. For people like me, TechNet was a godsend. For a nominal fee, TechNet gave me access to a wide array of Microsoft software (All versions of Windows, Office, etc.) and provided multiple keys and activations. This allowed me to keep legit copies of operating systems on test machines, try out new software for extended periods before writing about it, and legally obtain programs I would otherwise never be able to afford. TechNet was awesome.

Instead of offering full versions of their programs, Microsoft's plan to quell the disappointment of current TechNet customers it to offer free trials of many of the same programs, but that's not nearly as helpful. I keep test machines set up for months on end-OS trials that necessitate frequent reinstallations aren't nearly as helpful. Is it a complete loss? No. But why annoy a block of current customers, shelling out hundreds of dollars each year for subscriptions, when there's no need to?

The shuttering of TechNet is a pointless move that does little else other than to annoy current customers. Microsoft hasn't come out and said this, but the reason for killing TechNet is most likely about the numbers. Microsoft would rather have folks drop thousands of dollars to obtain full versions of the programs (or an MSDN subscription) rather than a few hundred bucks for a TechNet subscription. But now Microsoft's not going to get anything from many of us. Many current TechNet customers are likely to make do with the free trials where possible, but will be forced to find alternatives to the other programs that aren't likely to be as readily available.

Smooth move, Microsoft. Way to keep your customers happy. If there's one thing we love, it's being completely ignored.


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