For the second time in two years, Microsoft has significantly cut the benefits it offers to TechNet subscribers. Will the newly reduced allotments of Windows and Office product keys really reduce piracy or just annoy Microsoft’s customers?

Microsoft’s TechNet program is one of the best bargains in personal computing. For an annual subscription price of $349, TechNet Professional subscribers get access to nearly every release of every operating system (desktop and server) and Office suite.

The licenses are valid for evaluation purposes only, but the downloadable products and product keys are typically Retail products, indistinguishable from shrink-wrapped products.

Two years ago, a TechNet Professional subscription entitled you to 10 product keys for every version of Windows and every version of Office. In September 2010, citing concerns over piracy, Microsoft cut those allotments to five keys.

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