Shh, Microsoft withholds TechNet Product Keys on the Down Low

Paul Lilly

According to reports, Microsoft has quietly cut the number of product keys it hands out to TechNet subscribers from 10 to a maximum of five. Because this happened on the down low, some subscribers were caught off guard, including some of Microsoft's own employees, some of which told customers it was a bug in the system.

Long-term subscribers aren't affected as much, as they get to keep their current keys.

"We did not take away any keys. Just the amount of keys available 'ad hoc' via the portal has been reduced, all previously claimed keys are still available," Microsoft said. "The reduction is due to an updated anti-piracy policy. More information will be made available for all customers soon."

With the new policy in place, TechNet Professional ($349/year, $249 renewal) subscribers will have access to a maximum of five product keys, while TechNet Standard ($199/year, $149 renewal) subscribers get two. Those product keys can be used on full product titles, like Office 2010 and Windows 7, "licensed for evaluation purposes only -- not for use in production environments." In other words, you're good to use them at home for personal use, but not at work.

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