The New Microsoft Action Pack Subscription Debuts February 24


 

October 2014 Update

Thank you for your interest in the Microsoft Action Pack subscription. The new Action Pack has been in market for several months now. You can learn more about your Action Pack opportunities and benefits on the partner portal. The short video below also provides an Action Pack overview.

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Original post

The Microsoft Action Pack subscription has long provided many Microsoft Partner Network members with cost-effective access to internal use software licenses and technical, sales, and marketing resources. A few years ago, the Action Pack was updated to offer a choice between two editions, based on whether your business model was as a solution provider (build, install, service) or in the design and development of applications and web-based solutions.

As the market rapidly evolves, and as Microsoft shifts to its devices and services strategy, the Microsoft Partner Network is changing to better position our partners to build Microsoft-based practices that meet customer demands. There are program-wide changes that will take effect in February, and there are changes to our two primary membership options, the Microsoft Action Pack and MPN competencies. For competency requirements updates, read Julie Bennani’s blog post. For information about the new Action Pack, please read on.

The Microsoft Action Pack has been redesigned, and on February 24 we’ll switch on this new, robust, universal subscription model. Your subscription will help you capitalize on the growing cloud opportunities in small and medium businesses by providing you with access to marketing, technical, and readiness tools aligned to these partner business models:

  • Application development and design
  • Device design and development
  • Hosting
  • Managed services
  • Professional services
  • Reselling

Benefits

  • Internal-use Microsoft software licenses to support up to a 10-person organization, deployed through Microsoft Cloud Services or on-premises software.
  • Access to online and telephone support for presales, technical, and deployment issues.
  • Developer tools, including Visual Studio, and MSDN subscriptions to support development across Microsoft platforms—desktop, phone, server, and web.
  • Bing Ads credits for you and your customers, to market products, services, and solutions.

Pages 10-12 in the downloadable Microsoft Partner Network disclosure guide provide you with more details about these changes.

Pricing

The new Action Pack subscription will be priced at US $475.

Guidance for Current Subscribers

If you are already an Action Pack Solution Provider or Action Pack Development and Design subscriber, you will have access to the new benefits and resources starting February 24. No action from you is necessary until your next subscription renewal.

Guidance for Renewing Subscribers

If your Action Pack renewal date is approaching, you can renew your subscription up to 30 days prior to that date. If you are in your 30-day renewal timeframe, and complete your renewal before February 24, you’ll pay the current price and save on the first year of your subscription. You’ll have access to the new benefits and resources starting February 24.

If you need assistance with your renewal, the Partner membership forum in the Partner Support Community can help. You can request 1:1 communication with an agent.

Guidance for New Subscribers

Subscribe to the Action Pack before February 24, and pay the current price. You’ll save on the first year of your subscription, and get access to the new benefits and resources as soon as the new model goes live, on February 24.

If you need assistance with your new subscription, the partner membership forum in the Partner Support Community can help. You can request 1:1 communication with an agent.

Comments (78)
  1. Hi Eddie, John, Andy, Geoff, Mark, and Active IT Design – Thank you for taking the time to add your comments here about the new Action Pack. I have read the comments and have also asked our worldwide MPN team to read them. Cheers, Diane

  2. Hi agileinfoways – There is information about how you may use your Azure benefit at

    http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/offers/ms-azr-0051p/?WT.mc_id=A1789A234.

  3. Hi sjacobs – Thank you for your comments and feedback. Much appreciated. – dg

  4. I’m not a fan of the latest Action Pack changes. I’m not a developer, I don’t build apps, I just don’t need anything MSDN. So now the price for me goes up from $329 (Action Pack Solution Provider) to $475 for a "universal" Action Pack subscription that
    includes features I don’t need. Prices going up, no added benefit and unwanted "features" (Bing credits come to mind), little value, you can find free coupons for them all over the place. More and more Microsoft seems to be telling partners what they think
    we want, and a lot of this we don’t want. The two Action Pack options you had were fine and shouldn’t have been that hard to manage two choices. Killing TechNet and now this, just doesn’t make sense to me. It’s not about the price either, it’s about the price
    and seeing absolutely ZERO added benefit for a lot of Microsoft Partners. You’re slowly killing your smaller Partners. I network with a large group of IT people here in Charlotte, NC and a lot of them are heavily looking into options for themselves and customers
    that are anything BUT Microsoft.

  5. Hi Tim – Good question about whether Power BI is part of your internal use software. Since it is an additional offering to Office 365, my understanding is that it is not included, and I do not see it on the internal use software list on the portal. – dg

  6. Hi CoralBayCC, Jeffrey Fox, Dave M., Jared Pickerell, Internet Intuitions, and Paul Milliard – Thank you for taking the time to post your feedback about the Action Pack here. I have read your comments and have also asked the worldwide team responsible for the Action Pack to read them, too. Julie Bennani, the General Manager for MPN, recently wrote about the new Action Pack here: http://www.digitalwpc.com/Community/Perspectives/Pages/What’s-New-in-the-Microsoft-Partner-Network.aspx.

  7. Hi Bill Welch – Thank you for your post. I am sorry to hear about the issue with your Action Pack subscription. If you will email me your partner ID at dianeja@microsoft.com, I will follow up with our support team. Thanks, Diane

  8. Superngorks says:

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  9. Internet Intuitions says:

    I am not quite sure why I am spending my time writing this because Microsoft is does not listen to their “Partners”.

    My firm has been a partner since 1992. During these past 22 years Microsoft has demonstrated a consistent trend in offloading their corporation sales and support departments and pointing and users to their “partners”.

    While putting more emphasis on the use of their “partners” Microsoft has consistently made it more expensive for their “partners” and more difficult for smaller organizations.

    First Microsoft “partners” paid a nominal fee (about $2000 per year) and we received the full MSDN and TechNet subscriptions. Their requirement was to have one MCP on staff.

    Microsoft’s first change which shut the door on many of their loyal “partners” was to change the requirement to having two MCP’s on staff.

    I am sure that most of us know the history of the Microsoft Partner Program so I will not take up space recapping all of the changes.

    Their latest one, rolling out Office 365 and providing the Cloud Essential Partner Program was a wonderful thing. Now that have built (or should I say their “partners”) a loyal customer base of Office 365 and users they have taken away the Cloud Partner program… Replacing it with MAP. When they first announced the change the cost of MAP was reasonable and justifiable.

    I just went into you pass the MAP assessment quiz and found that the cost has almost doubled while decreasing both the number of licenses and the software items that the program contains

    I also find it, how shall I say in a public forum, quizzical that with all of the posts to this topic there, as usual, has not been a single reply from anybody at Microsoft. Apple has a well-known reputation of keeping things tight to their vest (including major security flaws). That is why my firm decided a long time ago not to partner with Apple in any way shape or form.

    Well Microsoft, my firm has been a loyal “partner” and a very active evangelist of the Microsoft product/services offerings. It is sad to say that after more than two decades this latest action on the part of Microsoft may very well be the straw that broke the camels back.

    I respectfully request and strongly encourage a reply from Microsoft.

  10. Hi Brian – Thank you for your comment and feedback.

    Hi Jeff E – If you were an Action Pack Solution Provider subscriber prior to November 2013, the MSDN benefit will not be available to you until you renew your subscription. This information is now noted in the Action Pack FAQ benefits section at

    https://mspartner.microsoft.com/en/us/pages/membership/action-pack-software-licensing-benefits-faq.aspx#Benefits.

    Hi Michael – If your Action Pack subscription is active, you should not have to meet additional requirements to access and download your software benefits. An MPN competency is not required for Action Pack, and is a different membership option. If you continue
    having this issue accessing your benefits, I encourage you to contact MPN Support for assistance.

  11. agileinfoways says:

    Joining the MS Partner Network Action Pack Development and Design grants you a monthly $100 credit for Azure usage. Can this credit be applied to a production subscription? There does not seem to be any specific mention of this on any of the documentation. I see for MSDN subscribers that the credit is only good for dev/test, and for BizSpark it is good for production as well. Anyone know how the credit received as a Microsoft Partner may be used?

  12. I’m a bit late to the game on the MPN and MAPS subscription changes but am realizing that my cost for MAPS is going up and I am losing licenses of Office 365. As a Cloud Essentials partner there were 25 licenses available. Moving forward, even with being the partner of record on 4 other Office 365 tenants with over 200 active seats (which from reading it looks like will give me 5 additional licenses on top of the standard 5), we will drop down to 10 licenses of Office365. I don’t necessarily need all 25 licenses for active day-to-day function but it was a fantastic benefit that is going away. A small company could do some great testing and experimenting with those extra licenses.

    We now have higher cost and fewer Office 365 licenses. The other new benefits might be nice, but I don’t think they outweigh the loss of online licenses and increase in cost. This might be fine for bottom line of Microsoft but is not great for the small MS partner, catering to small businesses or in my case non-profits. In the end this isn’t good business for Microsoft if they loose support of their small business partners.

    One other item that I haven’t read is if the new MAPS also includes physical shipments of install media for our local IUR software. Call me old fashioned, but I still prefer receiving the install media in the mail verses downloading the multi-gigabyte media and burning the physical backups to disc.

    If Microsoft would let us keep our 25 Office 365 licenses (to those who are partner of record for enough tenant licenses) and would also include the physical shipments, (I support both cloud and local where they make sense), I could put up with the increased cost of $475. Microsoft, I do want to support you, you just sometimes make that a little more difficult to do that I would like.

  13. Microsoft’s Dislike of the SMB Community continues to show, well done on alienating us more.

  14. Hi Phil H, Slyfox, M McGovern, and Joe Raby – Thank you for taking the time to leave your comments about the new Action Pack. I appreciate your comments and shared them with our worldwide team as well. Cheers, Diane

  15. Hello, everyone. Thank you all for taking the time to post your candid feedback and comments about the Action Pack changes. I have read all of your comments, and I have also asked our program design team in the Worldwide Partner Group to read them. Cheers,
    Diane

  16. Hi Bob Bruce – Thank you for your question about the benefits. It is still my understanding that existing subscribers have access to the new benefits. Specific to MSDN, existing subscribers have access to their subscriptions as of March 10. Instructions
    for activating your MSDN subscriptions are in the section about halfway down the MSDN page at

    https://mspartner.microsoft.com/en/us/Pages/Membership/msdn-subscriptions.aspx. If you are still unable to access your MSDN benefit, please let me know at dianeja at microsoft.com.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Join your Microsoft US SMB regional team for the February partner call in their monthly series. These

  18. Anonymous says:

    Join your Microsoft US SMB regional team for the February partner call in their monthly series. These

  19. Anonymous says:

    Welcome to this week’s issue of the US Partner News Online! Each week, we’ll bring you the latest news

  20. Anonymous says:

    Welcome to this week’s issue of the US Partner News Online! Each week, we’ll bring you the latest news

  21. Tom Merritt says:

    This has nothing to do with Customer Demands or Partner Requirements. Microsoft wants to treat partners as customers when it comes to billing them, but still off-load most of Microsoft’s responsibilities to these same partners when it comes to customer
    support. Truth, Honesty, Ethics and Morality seem to have no place in Microsoft. Discussing them may cause laughter at the water cooler. At lease use some Reality when making these types of announcements. Please do not insult our intelligence. For a 30% increase
    in cost, we get to purchase stuff we don’t need. That’s reality.

  22. Lorne says:

    Significant increase in cost with little to no benefit to the partner…

  23. Jim Cason says:

    We do networking, we are not programmers. So – I don’t really need MSDN stuff. The MAP stuff has been very useful in setting up internal servers to test before making changes on clients’ systems. However, the price increase is SUBSTANTIAL, with no real
    benefit to my organization.

  24. MarkJ says:

    Too expensive now.

  25. Al L says:

    Honestly why should we continue selling your software without benefit to us. This is ridiculous. Were the one that sell your software not you. So you decide lets stick it to them again. Well you do realize that Linux has made huge strides and could now
    almost be considered a deployable software. Why would we both to spend another 200 dollars and get less. I think this might be the straw that broke the camels back. I can see a number of people switching to selling linux

  26. Parrish says:

    Not all of us are cloud providers nor are we pushing our customers to cloud services. The simple fact is that the cloud is NOT a fit for all customers all the time. Microsoft seems to have forgotten that. Us providers and our customers that are not moving
    to the cloud are being left behind and neglected by Microsoft. Also, as another commenter mentioned, not all of us are developers! I’m anxious to see who and what products are going to step up to the plate to fill this void Microsoft is creating.

  27. TJ says:

    MAP was an economical way for us to assist occasional clients having problems with MS software. Over the years client interest in MS software has declined. Meanwhile the cost of MAP steadily increases. At $200, MAP was easy to justify to make a few clients
    happy. At $500 plus the steadily declining usefulness of MAP it becomes difficult to justify the expense. It will be better for us to advise clients to simply not use the MS product and steer them to better alternatives. Is MS so hard up for cash that it needs
    to cannibalize its support network?

  28. Joshua Liberman says:

    We are well accustomed to the Microsoft Way by now, as are most MS partners (or "frenemies" as we are now being treated). It is incumbent upon us to decide very simply; is the cost worth the benefit. For us it certainly still is but I strongly agree that
    the endless Politburo level of nonsense, where all communication is in the form of a press release, is incredibly insulting and just plain exhausting. The Cloud as a solution is attractive to many, viable for some and has been adopted by a few. Microsoft has
    developed such overwhelming myopia that they cannot even see their own naked refection in the Cloud.

  29. Brian says:

    I’m a consultant helping my customers use various products including Microsoft’s. The marginal value of MAP has been getting very iffy for several years now. Simply put, with this price increase it is cheaper for me to purchase the individual software
    that I use than it is to pay for MAP. This announcement just moves the transition up a year. I will not be renewing MAP. It’s not worth it.

  30. Quick-Tech says:

    Microsoft is slowly killing itself.

  31. Al says:

    I’ve been a subscriber for years but it looks like this will be my last year. Apparently Microsoft is not aware there are other products out there that do the job as well or better than many of their recent releases. Microsoft has always practiced blackmail
    marketing. They start you with a free or reasonably priced item then once you become dependent on it, they raise the price. We’ve tolerated this practice in the past but now it’s become ridiculous. I can’t wait to see what the price of Office 365 will be once
    they get a large customer base signed up.

  32. Steve T says:

    I have to agree with all of the posters (so far) in what they are saying about the dimishing value of the MAP program. I go way back to the 80’s as a Microsoft partner . . . then it was called NFR (Not For Resale) Software. It was a great opportunity to
    try new software in a production environment (our office) and also help serve our customers better by testing different sceneros for them with NFR software in our lab – so that the solution we came up with was a good "fit" for them. In those days we paid for
    NFR Software from Microsoft, while other vendors provided it to us FREE of Charge. I thought it was well worth the small investment though for BOTH us and Microsoft. The early days of MAP Program continued this value for us. I remember when we switched to
    Electronic Distrobution from Discs . . . and the price stayed the same. The price is now almost double the figure we paid back then when discs were produced and shipped. I understand the push you have for the cloud. I get it. We have a lot of customers that
    have enbraced the cloud for a large part of their processes. If we are truly "Partners" then help us learn as we seek to offer value in a cloud-centric world that this is becoming. Don’t gouge us with this. You will recieve far greater return on your investment
    if we are treated like partners, rather than "frenemies" the one poster described. MICROSOFT: Are you reading these posts? If you don’t then please just disable comments as they don’t really matter anyway.

  33. James A. Singer says:

    So this is the reward we get for trying to sell your products? Ubuntu is free, and a lot of clients are asking about it trying to find another solution than Microsoft. Most of my clients and myself dont do clouds. Security has always been an issue. Does
    the name Target bring back any thoughts? You want to help the smaller business like mine and my clients? Quit raising the cost of your products and stay away from the cloud. Clouds are nice to look at, but they cannot hold anything since they have no mass.
    I gave up trying to build systems since the operating system is too expensive. I can buy a motherboard WITH CPU for around $100.00 and the entire system, less OS, for around $250.00, but add Windows for an additional $100.00 and my profit margin is no longer
    there. So how about leaving things as they are? You use to send up disks, then you stopped and wanted an additional $100 to do so. WOW i got one disk one year for $100! The disk cost you 5 cents so this is one heck of a profit margin. Sure wish I could make
    this margin in my business.

  34. Charles Lasner says:

    I see I’m not the only one who feels left out in the cold. Microsoft for me at least seems to be going backwards. My customers want nothing whatsoever to do with anything called W8. On the contrary, they insist on W7 and wish they could have XP. [They
    use XP in simulation.] By its own reckoning, MS has now admitted that W8 is the new ME/Vista – a loser. The product will be ushered out of support as quickly as possible, and we are to just take it on some rumor that W9 will be saner and more of a retro move.
    [I won’t hold my breath, and besides we have a new CEO; let’s see what he likes about how many of us are abandoning MAPS. Here’s some free advice to him: Customers do not like to be needlessly uprooted and have to learn a new GUI that is merely a distinction
    without a difference. All this does is create chaos in the trenches that WE have to solve, no thanks to you. Here is some programming 101 for you: 1) Well designed software separates the notion of the kernel of the system from the GUI. Clearly, you knew how
    to do that when you wrote OS/2, and first praised it until IBM demanded ownership fro what they funded, then you decided to badmouth it. Many of us go back to those days and see it as two-faced to say the least. But the point is that OS/2 allowed the "gui"
    to be ANYTHING you wanted from a DOS-like prompt and text-only through every version of a windows-gui that was ever supported. This was started in the early 1970s with unix. Anyone here feel that ANYONE has the right to dictate which SHELL someone MUST use
    simply because they open their mouth? When Windows post W3.1 came out, it STARTED with these correct prinicple; the file names show the attempt at competent design. But over the years, the lines blurred between these modules and as such we now have institutionalized
    the notion of just ignoring this; the main reason new systems come out is to saisfy the dictates of someone higher up; witness the "executive decision" to RIP OUT OF VISTA the classic GUI that went back to Windows 95 through Vista [and available at all stops
    along the way] capriciously and clearly for no technical reason that makes any sense, and then so salve all of our savage beasts, toss back in the XP simulator, thus a high-overhead way to get back what we had, etc. If you like your GUI, you can keep it, period.
    Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to happen here either. Additionally, let it be known there is a project that needs more support called REACTOS. It is a 100% rewrite of Windows designed to be slavishly compatible with XP at the call level; GUI considerations
    start with XP but these people are writing clean modularity. When it is completed, you can have it all internally and externally. Pushing customers away will make them eventually flock to supporting these people, etc.

  35. Annie Blevins says:

    In order to sell and support MS software, "partners" need to assess and familiarize ourselves with MS products. Requiring $475 yearly to do so, just does not make sense to me.

  36. Shel Leader says:

    I’ve already renewed at the lower rate. Have never really used all of the items available in the MAP. Paying an extra $150 for less benefit is not good. I make plans to move away from being an MS Partner. Also, please provide a real desktop OS. Windows
    8 and 8.1 are terrible products. Can you imagine using a touch screen interface on a monitor which is 3 feet away????

  37. Anonymous says:

    Welcome to this week’s issue of the US Partner News Online! Each week, we’ll bring you the latest news

  38. Matthew says:

    Less and less software, more and more expensive. I don’t subscribe for the support, I subscribe for the software access. I’m a grown up & I don’t pirate OSes, but I do help small companies make purchasing decisions. Let me actually use this stuff & I can
    make a case to clients that they should upgrade. As it is I’m paying more and more for less and less access. This program is supposed to be helping me?

  39. Anonymous says:

    Welcome to this week’s issue of the US Partner News Online! Each week, we’ll bring you the latest news

  40. William Johnson says:

    I found little use for the Action Pack so switched the technical subscription, which has now been terminated. OK so now I look at the Action Pack only to find it has outpriced my business needs as well. I have relied on the subscription to fulfill my knowledge
    needs of the product to help my customers. I am a Sole Proprietor in a remote rural location with over 300 customers… yes 300! I have argued the benefits of Microsoft over the years as a mainstream provider of services. I am thinking: Linux here I come.
    This pricing and lack of knowledge of the us small businesses that promote MS is really sickening. The lack of market knowledge is pervasive in Microsoft. It is about $’s first, not product and customer love and demand to drive the success of the corporation.
    Looks like ROI and beancounting is driving the business model. Good luck.

  41. Don Douglass says:

    My clients do not use the cloud. This now to expensive for my shop to continue to purchase. I have been a MAPS office since the 90’s and found it very helpful in my business. This is like Obamacare you get less for more.

  42. Brett Jones says:

    I agree. That pricing is just out of line for the benefit provided.

  43. John Bailey says:

    I wish I could disagree with the previous posters.

  44. Kevin Frame says:

    What the?! I’m done. I’d say the marketing folks who priced this out don’t have a clue what we "Partners" servicing small to mid-size customers need or want. Where is the value proposition in the $475? So now we will no longer subscribe, which in turn
    means we will no longer "learn" the product and will turn elsewhere for solutions to our customer’s needs. Talk about back-ash-wards thinking.

  45. Dennis Kemper says:

    Microsoft needs to do what they need for supporting there business model, I have been a partner with them since the 80’s but that is coming to an end as they move forward with there strategy which does not include a viable future for my company and services.
    Without proper software testing tools at an affordable price for small firms like mine, I can no longer support the software platforms or provide a viable support structure, this will take out a huge support segment that MS has relied on in the past. Will
    continue to work with there products at a corporate/govt level but have no plans to implement anything further at this point without a reassessment of our needs vs product and move forward with other solutions in mind.

  46. John Engstrom says:

    Very disappointing. My last year with Action Pack. I have clients who would rather use google docs than pay for the office suite because is so expensive. MS is going to price itself out of existence.

  47. Dave Lipman says:

    For $500 bucks I have all he software I need to run my business, it’s a great value to me. My business exists to support Microsoft products, thank you Microsoft.

  48. Gary F. Moeller says:

    I am a one man on-site sales and service business. At $300 MAP was barely affordable. Now it is NOT. I didn’t need all the bloatware that MS pushed on us. I only deal with home users and very small businesses that very few even use a server. Those that
    do only use file servers, with the exception of one of my customers. Why don’t they create a MAP for businesses like mine? The latest versions of Windows, Small Business Server and Office………….that is all I need. I too have been a MAP subscriber for
    about 15 years, paying for stuff that I don’t use, but MS just priced themselves out of the market. I am now going to look VERY hard at LINUX and may start offering it even to my home users.

  49. Lorenzo Queral says:

    Why should the destruction of MAPS due to overpricing surprise anyone? Just look at what MS did to Windows 8. MS is making a lot of bad decisions lately, which is not a good omen for them.

  50. Bruce Anderson says:

    Microsoft has been losing customers due to badly designed operating system releases and apparently think they can recover some of their loses by raising prices on their loyal partners. If Munich, Germany can run their city on Linux programs so can the
    rest of the world. Websites that can’t be used with Firefox, SeaMonkey, Chrome or any other the more popular non-Microsoft browsers will soon find themselves dropping to the bottom of the popularity list. I would renew now if I could but my renewal date is
    end of May. Thanks for nothing Microsoft. Like many of your "partners" I have been paying the tithe for many years and think we are in line for a little more consideration than a 30% price increase. I’m actively switching to Linux just a little sooner than
    I intended and will get my clients to do the same after I show them how much they can save by ditching Microsoft and that list is over 1,500 people. I also have helped a lot of people learn how to use their Chromebooks.

  51. Ed Podowski says:

    Did anyone notice the absence of any comments from Microsoft? They are not reading our comments. They are Microsoft. Take or leave it. PERIOD!!!

  52. Lorne says:

    I renewed before the price hike but it now looks like that will be my last renewal. The return on investment has declined to the point that it is not worth remaining a subscriber.

  53. Eddie H says:

    I think Microsoft should have a monthly payment plan to allow partners to spread this cost over the year.

  54. John Bennett says:

    We’re a small (four-person) Microsoft development shop, and an Action Pack subscriber for the last ten years. Honestly, the new offering looks great to me: We’re already Office 365 subscribers, and this will offset some of the — already reasonable —
    costs of the basic subscription. In addition, continued access to new operating systems, office applications and server software is helpful and cost-effective for us.

  55. Andy Williams says:

    I have been greatly impacted by the loss of access to Microsoft software that my customers use (and I need to test against) via Action Pack dropping access to Windows 7, Office 2010, and Windows Server 2008 R2 versions. I have been further impacted by
    Microsoft taking away my subscription to TechNet downloads. The final slap in the face is the price increase for what is now a less-valuable-than-ever Action Pack. The Action Pack and Microsoft are no longer addressing real-world SMB needs. I have exactly
    one customer running any version of Windows 8, and only two customers running any version of Office 365! I’m done as a Microsoft "partner" and Action Pack subscriber.

  56. Mark Welte says:

    This is nothing new with Microsoft. I have been involved in the ERP side of MS for years and they have publicly stated that they do not like to deal with the SMB partners. They have done their best to eliminate all of the small ERP consultants and drive
    that work to the large shops. This is just the next step with the desktop and server side. I work for a university using O365 and we have been trying to purchase premium support for TWO months. It takes months to get resolutions for problems in O365 and yet
    we are expected to move all of our services to O365 with no support even if we want to purchase it. I have been a partner since 1999 and each year I see less and less from a business case to stay with MS. All of us "frenemies" need to find alternate solutions.

  57. Phil H says:

    I have to agree with the previous posts — I’ve been an MS partner and Action Pack subscriber for a decade and have watched its value steadily erode. A huge price increase to justify the inclusion of products that I have no conceivable use for falls somewhere
    between a bad joke and an insult. My customers don’t want to lease cloud solutions. They don’t want a dumbed down user interface. The want enterprise class, stable, reliable and secure software with a consistent and valuable set of features and functions.
    The value proposition for Linux keeps looking better. Microsoft – please wake up and smell the coffee.

  58. Slyfox says:

    Too much $ for too little value to me. I joined Action Pack for under $99, I vaguely remember $49? Continued through all of the upgrades and price hikes. Watched the price go up even as the media was discontinued. Still have the Windows XP and SBS 2003
    media in those nice binders, but now can’t even download Windows 7 through Action Pack to repair a system. I have run my home on BackOffice server up through Server 2012 R2 Essentials. M$ has worked hard the last couple of years to end this "partnership".
    part·ner /ˈpärtnər/ noun a person who takes part in an undertaking with another or others, esp. in a business or company with shared risks and profits. I have worked with M$ products for all these years. Fixing, updating, upgrading, soothing upset users, making
    M$ products work as intended. Leaving users with the feeling that it is good to be a M$ user. It really can work like they say. I have represented them. I have shared the "risks" of Millenium, Vista, and Windows 8. I have profited financially from my knowledge
    of M$ products, and M$ has profited from my knowledge of M$ products. Now the question is, after this many years and thousands of Action Pack dollars, do I want to now pay AGAIN for the few licenses I am using, or completely dump M$? As a partner I feel like
    they have dumped me. We all agreed when we joined action pack that we would uninstall all products if we did not renew our subscription. I will honor that agreement, and my family will probably be learning to use Linux.

  59. M McGovern says:

    I guess one of us has to be on the flip side of this coin. I still think that $475.00/yr is a bargain to license my server, 3 workstations and have all my employees using Office 365 E3. The E3 licenses alone are worth the price. To the commenter who wants
    to spread out the payments, use a credit card. Even with the interest charges, it’s still a deal.

  60. Joe Raby says:

    Why is MAPS offered through a separate program from VLSC or Office 365? Why not just license Office desktop software through Office 365 and Windows Client through InTune? Also, I don’t like that only 5 cloud licenses are includes instead of 10. If the
    management of those licenses were covered by the cloud teams, Microsoft could save on the cost of setting those up through a separate system for MAPS and pass the savings on (or offer 10 licenses, just like the regular software licenses in MAPS).

  61. Bill Welch says:

    I’ve been a member for years. I never got a notice that my subscription was expiring and to renew. When I got the notification that the price was going up after Feb. 25 and to renew now I did! It’s been 13 days since my CC was charged and I have no ability to download software or license keys. I’m told they are working on it!

    This is a abomination! If you go to any other software company on the planet, you pay, get a conformation and you can download. Not Microsoft! This stinks!

  62. CoralBayCC says:

    So first Microsoft takes away the SBS line and now they increase my AP subscription by 44%????? And have the nerve to say that us small business consultants are important to them and they’re there for us???

    That’s just pure BS.

    Color me really unhappy.

  63. Jeffrey Fox says:

    Microsoft, by far and by all measures the most successful company ever in producing high-quality, popular, and versatile software for our servers and workstations, decides to tread into the dominion of powerful companies like Google and Apple and compete directly with them for “devices and services”, instead of continuing to expand on their own domination in the on-premises equipment market. As a result, you see them telling us, the millions of us out here who sell and support their software, to “go to hell” by cancelling TechNet and then combining the Action Packs as a ruse to raise the price, because they don’t really care if we buy the subscriptions or not because they don’t need us. And the quality of their software has gone down. Just look at the missing features and terrible design flaws of Exchange 2013 and Office 2013. Just look at what complete sh*t Windows 8 is on a desktop computer, how annoying it is for you to hit the Start button and have your whole screen disappear to go to the new start screen that no one likes. Why should they care, as long as it works well enough to collect their monthly fee from their “cloud” subscribers, right? Why is it that I, just some guy in Los Angeles, knows the “cloud” will never replace on-premises servers and workstations for serious businesses, but Microsoft doesn’t? I just can’t believe they are that clueless about what’s going on out here. Do they never visit any sites where people run their software? Do they think companies with less than 100 users don’t exist? There are MILLIONS of them! I am truly baffled why they would abandon this market that they can still own to compete with very powerful rivals in a market that may be ephemeral.

    It would be one thing if we didn’t have an alternative for our on-site servers and workstations. But, there are more alternatives than ever, and Microsoft could easily dominate them with their development and support model, they just choose not to. Given that, a server running Linux or FreeBSD, workstations running Linux and LibreOffice, with backup systems on FreeNAS or something, can easily replace 75% of all Windows-based networks.

    I had some hope when they announced Steve Ballmer was going to retire. I thought maybe they’ll promote someone with some sense. But, here comes the head of their cloud services division to be the new CEO. Great. Bye, Microsoft. You had millions, maybe billions of devoted users and support professionals. Now you’re just going to be an annoying company pestering us to buy your crappy tablet or sign up for your service that’s no better than Google Apps.

  64. Bob Bruce says:

    I’m an existing subscriber and just tried to access the MSDN benefit. Support told me the quoted statement below is in ERROR. And you don’t automatically get the new benefits. Diane if your listening PLEASE CLARIFY OR ISSUE A CORRECTION.

    Guidance for Current Subscribers

    If you are already an Action Pack Solution Provider or Action Pack Development and Design subscriber, you will have access to the new benefits and resources starting February 24. No action from you is necessary until your next subscription renewal.

  65. Dave M2 says:

    I will spend my $475 elsewhere! Who was the genius that thought this up …. Bernie Madoff?

  66. Paul Milliard says:

    I’m done with Microsoft and it’s products. I’m abandoning selling Microsoft and developing for/on that platform. I’m typing this on my new MacBook Pro and am rapidly developing for Mac OS X and Open Source Platforms.

    Goodbye Microsoft…

  67. Brian says:

    With all of the price increases over the years.. It would be really great if Microsoft might at least offer a promotional discount to members that have been loyal to the program over the years. I have been a subscriber for ten years or more, and the price now is to the point where it makes it extremely difficult to justify the purchase… : – (

  68. Jeff E says:

    Was there a specific time frame that the conversions would need to be purchased in? I was up for renewal on 1/1/2014 but didn’t renew until 2/1/2014. I still am showing as a Solution Provider and when I chatted with support they stated that I would not be able to upgrade until 2/1/2015 and wasn’t able to help.

    Thanks.

  69. Jeff E says:

    Please either update your blog or correct your employees. This is what I got after going through chat on why I can’t get MSDN. Ok, if you re-enrolled on the previous Action Pack you had the opportunity to cancel that order, have the payment reversed and in no later than 2 busines days you would have been able to Subscribe to the New Action Pack, that was available within 30 days after you renewed the previous MAP. And this:but no action pack was going to be activated automatically, and according to the MAP policies automatic update to the new Pack was not an option for partner who just renewed to their previous Action Packs before the renewal date

  70. Jeff E says:

    Also you need to update the December Disclosure because it also stated that renewals would be in the new action pack.

  71. ML49448 says:

    It is absolutely ridiculous that every time I log in to the Microsoft Action Pack website to download software for testing or internal use, there seems to be a new competency and I must pass and then wait 2 days before being able to download the software that I have already paid for.

    As soon as we are able to download AGAIN, I will simply have my tech’s download all software and product keys and never log in to the Action Pack website again.

    In typical Microsoft fashion, this process is sdrawkcab ssa!

  72. sjacobs says:

    I don’t see why everyone is complaining. For $475, you can run your entire business if 10 people or less. A single copy of Office Pro is almost that much, and Visual Studio is included, SQL Server, etc. You have got to be kidding me about all of the belly aching on this site.

  73. Rick says:

    This is wonderful. No more TechNet. A resource used to download install files when legitimate customers had lost their original media but had valid certificates of authenticity.

    Price raised by $200.00

    Near impossible to get paperwork filled out to get paid as partner of record for cloud services.

    Not notified of impending expiration and lose the ability to renew one last time at the lower price.

    Not open on weekends to deal with renewal issues, so I will have to use up valuable Business days dealing with internal issues instead of servicing clients.

    I am quite disappointed.

    For a company losing market share, you would think they would be inclined to keep their free sales force less disgruntled.

  74. Tim says:

    Diane, do you know if the new MAP includes Power BI with the Office 365 E3 accounts?

  75. Jeff Y. says:

    I was thinking about subscribing but now I am having second thoughts. I agree the price is just a little too steep.

  76. Leaving Microsoft says:

    Microsoft’s recent offering have all been expensive garbage. As an NT4.0 MCE up to 2008 R2 MCITP, I have always considered Microsoft servers to be my core skill.

    Take a look at the Cisco certified guys–so much less stress. And Cisco products are generally feature complete, work as advertised, and don’t break spontaneously. I am switching career tracks to get away from ever having to touch Microsoft products again. Nothing is worth the kind of job stress they add.

    On the subject, how many of you all have business owners thinking you are lying to them when you try to explain how they can be license compliant? It’s so surreal and unreasonable that people always assume it’s my mistake when I quote licenses. I sell those license at cost so I can show the invoice to customers, so they will not hold Microsoft’s policies against me. I am so happy to be a “partner”. I am so happy to get spam from Microsoft about selling new products. Microsoft products are my loss leader, no profit hassle.

    Thank God every mobile device Microsoft has ever made has flopped. Otherwise we’d all be paying an $800 Windows license fee with every cell phone. Oh wait–you have to subscribe to Office 365 to edit a Word doc on your iPad, hey they did find a way to screw mobile users even after losing over and over in the mobile marketplace. Microsoft now is like General Motors in the 70s. Badly made garbage.

  77. Brian says:

    Diane, Could you use some of this increased revenue to improve your partner website? It rarely functions correctly, crashes, is horribly slow, impossible to navigate and does not work well with Internet Explorer. I’m certain that it would improve Microsoft’s position with their partners.

  78. Anonymous says:

    Pingback from Partners: Redesigned Microsoft Action Pack subscription debuts Feb. 24 | The Fire Hose

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