MSDN Subscriptions Tutorial

Please check the MSDN website for the latest information.

  • What is MSDN?
  • What is included in MSDN?
  • MSDN Flavors
  • MSDN Phone Support
  • MSDN Online Concierge
  • Media Kits
  • Purchase Options  

What is MSDN?

MSDN stands for Microsoft Developer Network. It is Microsoft’s offering to developers building applications using the Microsoft platform and technologies. MSDN is a subscription-based service that gives developers access to a plethora of resources for development and testing purposes. The primary objective of MSDN is to equip developers with all the tools they need in order to build and test applications via a single cost-effective subscription.

MSDN subscriptions are single-user licensed; everyone who uses the products within an MSDN subscription must have an MSDN subscriptions license. In other words, one license must be purchased for each user.

What is included in MSDN?

Notable benefits included in MSDN are:

  • Software Assurance for Visual Studio
  • Microsoft server products
  • Microsoft operating systems
  • Microsoft productivity applications – Office, Project, Visio, etc.
  • Monthly media kit with latest software (per agreement)
  • Streamlined Administration
  • Early access to Beta and CTP [1] versions of forthcoming products
  • Phone Support
  • Online newsgroups
  • Online Concierge
  • MSDN Library

Limitations – The MSDN End User License Agreement (EULA) allows each person with an MSDN license to use all of the software that is included in the subscription for development, test, and demonstration purposes only. Please note, however, that MSDN subscriptions have a perpetual license, so subscribers can still use the products received with their MSDN subscription after their subscription has expired. For more information please see FAQs link in the Resources section at the end of this document.

MSDN Flavors – yesterday and today

In the past Microsoft offered 5 different flavors of MSDN subscriptions – MSDN Universal, MSDN Enterprise, MSDN Professional, MSDN Operating Systems and MSDN Library. With the launch of Visual Studio 2005 product line in November 2005 we have streamlined the MSDN offerings and now offer MSDN Premium, MSDN Professional, MSDN Operations Systems and MSDN Library subscriptions.

MSDN Premium is the top-of-the-line MSDN subscription and includes everything that MSDN Universal in the past included. Next in the line is the MSDN Professional subscription.  

Notable differences between MSDN Premium and MSDN Professional are enumerated in this picture.

MSDN Premium gives you access to most Microsoft server products and also includes a copy of Microsoft Office 2007 Enterprise. MSDN Professional, on the other hand, only includes SQL Server Developer Edition.

MSDN Phone Support

MSDN Premium includes 4 technical phone support incidents and MSDN Professional includes 2 technical phone support incidents.

You can use MSDN phone support for development/test related issues corresponding to your subscription level. This implies that you can use MSDN phone support for development/test issues that you encounter with products that are included in your MSDN subscription only. Please note that MSDN phone support may not be used for production-related issues.  

More information can be found at:

Online Concierge

The online concierge is a virtual resource that you can use to ask non-technical questions such as finding a particular product on MSDN or learning how to use the MSDN website to located desired information.

Media Kits

Each MSDN subscription comes with a comprehensive kit and a monthly kit.

The comprehensive kit is sent only once at the beginning of your subscription and contains the products that have been launched till that point in time. After you receive the comprehensive kit once, you receive the monthly media kit on an ongoing basis. The monthly kit only contains updates and new additions.

Purchase Options

MSDN subscriptions can only be purchased with a Visual Studio product.

MSDN Premium can be purchased with Visual Studio Team Suite, Visual Studio Team Edition for Software Architects, Visual Studio Team Edition for Software Developers, Visual Studio Team Edition for Software Testers or Visual Studio 2005 Professional.  

MSDN Professional can only be purchased with Visual Studio 2005 Professional.

Please note that you can upgrade your existing MSDN Professional subscription to MSDN Premium i.e. Visual Studio 2005 Professional with MSDN Professional to Visual Studio 2005 Professional with MSDN Premium by paying the upgrade price.


MSDN Website –

MSDN Subscriber site –


MSDN Administration -

MSDN Transition Information -

MSDN Transition FAQs -

[1] = Community Technology Preview

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