I've long been a subscriber to Microsoft's Action Pack which is for small businesses. You get 10 licenses for Windows and Office plus a Windows Server license or two for £220 a year. Plus the software never expires.
Many people say that subscription software is the way we're all going but I've been making significant savings for years now by subscribing to Microsoft software, and there's an ever better way to save money, as Paul Thurrott has written this week.
The Microsoft TechNet subscription costs from £134 (£100 renewal) a year and you get a whole lot for your money. Copies of every version of Windows and Office, and for the more expensive subscription, Server versions too.
These are for evaluation purposes only, which would preclude installing them across a business, but there's nothing stopping you using them at home.
As with the Action Pack the software never expires either. Paul says...
Each product key can be used to install up to 10 versions of the OS or application, for the most part. But that's actually 100 (yes, 100) installs for each Windows 7 product edition, because you can activate each key 10 times. So you get 100 installs of Windows 7 Ultimate, 100 installs of Windows 7 Professional, 100 installs of Windows 7 Home Premium, and so on. That's an incredible value, though it should be noted that this program is designed for a single person. You can't share the product keys with others. What you're getting, essentially, as an individual is multiple, unlimited installs of the products that are included with the subscription ... for yourself.
You also get added perks not in the Action Pack such as access to beta software, e-learning courses and managed forums.
This is simply stunning value for money and works out significantly cheaper than the £30 you'll pay for new a copy of OS X each year.
Update: Microsoft has retired the Technet Subscriptions service and stopped sales as of August 31, 2013. You can still become a Microsoft Action Pack subscriber, but that is available for $475 at the time of the update.
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