This is a great product. No correction this is a great collection of great products. It does not matter if you love them or hate them Microsoft software is everywhere and in a professional environment there is little else you can chose. I work as part of a small team of developers and we all need lots of software, this hits most of our requirements in one easy hit. As a lisence for visual studio enterprise edition costs at least £700 or so, plus office professional £350, plus msdn library £200, plus SQL server £500, site server commerce edition £2000, plus operating systems - lots of them, plus loads of other utilities, this is a really good value product. The convenience of having all the CD's right there whenever you need them, there is more information contained in here than one person could ever effectively use. It is also really useful to be able to experiment with a lot of the software that they provide without having the expense of buying it speculatively. You get regular updates every quarter and a bi monthly magazine as well as other magazines and literature. They seem to treat their MSDN subscribers very well, and open lots of additional offers and benefits to us. I am not sure how much support we get with the product, but whenever we have used it there has never been any questions asked. Very good value for developers if you are going to use varied products, but if you do not use a range of products just buy what you need directly.
I work for a fairly large web company and recently we decided to signup for the MSDN universal subscription purely for the server software which comes withit. Basically you receive probably every piece of new software (and old) that is in production at microsoft! We now have development editions of SQL2000, Application Center, Backoffice 2000 and loads more to play with. You also get the subscriptions library, which if you're a developer, is worth its weight in gold. Basically, the library consists of all MSDN online articals, periodicals, excerpts from the MSDN mag, every SDK and much more. By installing this on a server in your development house, your whole team can get up to date information on bugs, known issues, or just as much information as possible on any chosen languages in which you develop! There is also a subscriber download section which you can visit to download latest software as its released on beta such as the next windows - WindowsXP or even the new development tool Visual Studio.net. At times this download area has been extremely slow - and even completely unusable, but this is usually at around mid-day when I imagine the whole Microsoft.com receives huge amounts of traffic. To be honest it's hard to fault the MSDN subscription, you get basically everything MS has to offer for a very very small price, although it has to be noticed - you can only use these versions of software from MSDN for development purposes!!!