Microsoft to slash price of top-level MSDN subs for Visual Studio 2015

New Enterprise tier to offer Ultimate features at sub-Premium cost

Pair of pliers with other tools

Microsoft is streamlining its service offerings for the forthcoming version of its Visual Studio IDE, cutting the prices of its high-end subscription levels in the process.

When Visual Studio 2015 ships later this year, the software giant said on Tuesday, all current active subscribers to Visual Studio Professional 2013 with MSDN will automatically be upgraded to the 2015 version. New customers will also be able to get in at the Professional level for the current price of $1,195 per year.

The former Visual Studio Premium with MSDN and Visual Studio Ultimate with MSDN subscriptions will both disappear, however, to be replaced by the new Visual Studio Enterprise with MSDN level.

"It includes all the high value features you're already familiar with in Visual Studio Ultimate, along with new innovation that's coming with the 2015 release," Microsoft developer platform marketeer Mitra Azizirad said in a blog post.

Both classes of subscribers will end up paying less as a result. Visual Studio Enterprise 2015 with MSDN will cost $5,999 per year, while the current VS Premium subscription plan costs $6,119 per year and VS Ultimate goes for a whopping $13,299 per year.

While the discount for former Premium level subscribers isn't as significant as for Ultimate subscribers, they also gain the most in the transition, including access to more Pluralsight training courses per year and unrestricted access to the entire Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server lines of tools.

To further entice Professional level subscribers, Redmond is offering upgrades to Premium for half off the regular list price for two months, beginning on May 1. Customers who upgrade during this period will also get the free upgrade to VS Enterprise with MSDN when the switchover happens.

Developers for whom even a VS Professional with MSDN is too pricey, on the other hand, still have other options. Microsoft plans to keep offering the VS Test Professional with MSDN and MSDN Platforms subscriptions level, in addition to standalone perpetual licenses to the VS2015 IDE and Team Foundation Server 2015.

There will also be a number of free offerings available, including 2015 versions of the Visual Studio Express product lines and Visual Studio Community 2015, an updated version of the more comprehensive free VS2013 IDE that Redmond launched in November. ®

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