Hey, how about some free stuff from Microsoft? Seriously.

Hey, how about some free stuff from Microsoft? Seriously.

Summary: Don't spend hundreds or thousands on technical computer books that cover Microsoft technologies, download them free of charge. Legally. From Microsoft. Seriously.

TOPICS: Microsoft, Windows

It isn't often that I can be the bearer of good news about the tech industry but here's some for you. Free ebooks from Microsoft on Microsoft technologies. You can download them and keep them and pay nothing. Skeptical? So was I until I read Eric Ligman's post about it. Free ebooks covering SharePoint, Visual Studio, Windows Phone, Windows 8, Office 365, Office 2010, SQL Server 2012, Azure, and more. Thousands of dollars worth of free stuff from Microsoft? I haven't consumed any Microsoft Kool-Aid yet but I'm thinking that I need to sample a bit of it.

And, even crazier than that? Eric posted a second site full of more free ebooks because of the success of his first post.

My head is spinning.

No, it's not spinning from the searing heat nor the fermented or distilled beverages that I sometimes consume*. It's from this weirdness coming out of Redmond.

There's something crazy brewing up there and it ain't overpriced coffee or gourmet beer.

Microsoft is making some sort of business paradigm shift and I'm trying to get my head around it. For the past few years, Microsoft has run an entire free software site named Port25. The whole thing is now known as Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc--a subsidiary of Microsoft. 

I'm still shocked and surprised every time I think about it.

And, you can say whatever you want about Microsoft--Microsoft-bashing is fairly common--but you have to admit, things have changed around there in recent years. Some naysayers would say that Microsoft is reacting to the free software movement including Linux, OpenOffice.org, Apache and so on, but I think it goes deeper than that.

Sure, they're keeping pace with market changes, adapting, innovating and still carrying things their own direction but, you have to admit, no matter how crass you are, that Microsoft is a far different company than it was just ten short years ago.

Free software, free ebooks, free virtual machines and free who knows what's next? I'm impressed with Microsoft's strides in this area. Shocked, surprised, awed and convinced this is a new path for them. It is a good shift in the right direction.

Though, I'm not implying that Microsoft give away "the farm" but to see that they're changing with the times is good. I think Windows 2012 and Windows 8 will propel them even further into the future as a company reborn. Reborn and refitted for the future.

I found, when I was in business for myself, that there's a certain amount of expected good will. Microsoft has made its point. I'm happy.

However, it's sad in a way because Microsoft-hating for some industry writers had become a mainstay. Yes, I've done a bit of it myself but not without great thoughtfulness and contemplation. And, when I was in business, I did a huge number of Microsoft conversions from SCO UNIX, Novell and miscellaneous weirdness* that people got themselves into.

Microsoft: I'm only going to say this once. "You had me at 'TaDaa.' Today, I'm beating my sword into a ploughshare and am farming the Microsoft patch before me. I, for one, believe that Microsoft has found 'the way of peace.' But, know this, I'm no fool, I'll be watching.

For a time, enjoy the abundance that Microsoft has poured out on you.

*Though, I'm willing to try a few. Make a suggestion.

**You just wouldn't believe the things I've seen in companies--solutions perhaps that worked for a time but were long overdue for a good threshing. My technology war stories/memoires could easily fill a book.

Topics: Microsoft, Windows


Kenneth 'Ken' Hess is a full-time Windows and Linux system administrator with 20 years of experience with Mac, Linux, UNIX, and Windows systems in large multi-data center environments.

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  • Hey, how about some free stuff from Microsoft? Seriously.

    nothing is new here. it is the same strategem that m$ borrowed since day one, i.e. give sample and let customer get hooked up, then slowly bring up charges according to capacity to pay. they were successful with windows 3.0 vs. macintosh, ie vs. netscape, office vs. lotus, just some of the most prominent . also, they manage their business like the japanese, chinese and the other asian tigers: volume and market penetration against short term gain.
    • Do some research

      Microsoft pricing generally is coming down as they are removing the need to licence SQL on System center, removing a Licence for the management server on System Center and the prices across the board are staying the same (unless you live in UK, then they were raised to be the same as other countries)

      Windows 8 upgrade prices are around 30 quid and the Core CAL licence is down around 10%.

      Have fun Trolling.....
  • IE vs NetScape - wrong example

    IE is and was free and will be free always.
    Ram U
    • The above should be to @kc63092@...

      ZDNET please bring back editing option to replies.
      Ram U
      • This new

        forum paradigm sucks out loud... Why is it on some articles once can post with no issues but others it triggers some sort of spam filter... including using the word "test" in the header and the body. And what's up with the double and triple posts? Bring back post editing and formatting as well as the ability for a user to delete his or her post.
    • Hey, how about some free stuff ...

      @Mobile Architect
      that is precisely the reason why netscape fold. free vs. $30.00 just to surf the web. as for the other example, in the 90's office was virtually free because of rampant piracy, but m$ did not do much to run after everybody fully knowing that after awhile, perhaps it was three years, the accumulated documents using their proprietary format will be enough to compel users to poney up m$ tax or face up to the herculean task of converting those accumulated documents to some other format. and they are raking in huge profits for the last twenty plus years against three years of losses. in the same token, these free stuffs are not free at all but meant to build support for their products. the main consumers of which are the young gen who can not afford to poney up money up front but will be the future decision makers. think ot the 80's and 90's when the unix decision makers rule the roost, they were the consumers of unix of the 70's courtesy of at&t.
      • Office

        Was never ever free. The notion of a company that charges for their hard work is apparently a novel concept !
      • Netscape's fold was not totally

        Microsoft's fault. In business you have a risk of encountering with competitors always, and thats why the leadership has to be on toes always. The Netscape's fault was due to "greed" and arrogance from its own leadership, nothing more and nothing less. Their Netscape Enterprise Server was a waste of money and couldn't fill half of its promised specs anytime. Netscape browser was stagnated at 3.x the later versions were just eyewash. Didn't you notice it took hell out of Netscape team to release 5.5 (the next stable version)?
        Ram U
    • IE is free?

      You call the junkiest browser out there "free"?

      "Free" is a relative term. To M$, "free" is a dirty word that conjures up FOSS. Idiots.
  • Looked through it when announced...

    And, the list isn't that great. We keep a running list of free ebooks in the TechBooks group: http://myitforum.com/myitforumwp/community/groups/tech-books/
    • Eh, the more the merrier

    • Your link returns HTTP500 Server Error

      First, thanks for the link. Second, could you update whatever is wrong, including the accurate link if there is a mistake?
  • Be careful when wishing upon a star

    "[Y]ou have to admit, no matter how crass you are, that Microsoft is a far different company than it was just ten short years ago."

    To some extent this is true. But they've got a helluva deep hole they're still clawing and scratching out of. And sometimes, right when you think they finally "get it," you come to see they don't.

  • Is a change from the old business model

    In the past, it seemed that the documentation incloded with MS programs was made deliberately incomplete in order to increase book sales. If they've abandoned the practice, then it's a good thing.
    John L. Ries
  • Notes from the "Frontline"

    Asa humble vastly experienced EU (End User) of countless products since buying an Osborne in 1984(?) as a replacement for the frustrations of fighting "computerisation" - and even then having to learn enough "programming" to write the first ever EU-sane Menu for my staff and I.............
    I spent 30 years trying to understand COMMERCIAL consumers (as a Psychologist, I rapidly gave up on understanding individuals) and did no better.

    HOW a Microsoft or worse, an Apple, can exist in a world of comprehensive communication like today against Linux and Chines Ipads, is still a mystery as profound as the nonsense of E=MC2.
    The only Sisyphean company task greater than that of Microsoft is that of Apple.
    HOWEVER, do I personally even know of a computer engineer that actually bought and himself paid for an Apple. Nothing he really needs works on it, of course, but it has a light in the lid - of course the new Screen technology means it only works in the dark, but the case can stop a thrown Ninja Star Knife ............