Strange TFS 2012 license requirement

    General discussion

  • According to the article Features Accessed Through Web Permissions, in order to use the "sprint planning and backlog views" in TFS 2012 Team Web Access I need "one of the following MSDN subscriptions: Visual Studio Test Professional with MSDN, Visual Studio Premium with MSDN, or Visual Studio Ultimate with MSDN". (Please note that VS Pro with MSDN is not listed)

    This would require Product Owners, Project Managers and other similar roles to buy a rather expensive MSDN subscription to access some of their main tools in TFS. In my experience, if there is anyone on a project who typically do not need a MSDN subscription it is the person in this role.

    Further more, any agile team doing Scrum or Kanban but using VS Pro with MSDN is denied a core component supporting those frameworks. Not to mention teams developing on other platforms and using TEE to connect to TFS. Are they supposed to buy VS Premium with MSDN?

    I fail to see any rational reasoning behind this move. Other than selling more expensive MSDN subscriptions, a plan I believe will seriously backfire...

    Anyone else care to give their view on this? Perhaps even an informed MS rep? :) 

    Transcendent Group

    Tuesday, September 04, 2012 11:09 AM

All replies

  • Hi Jesper,

    Thank you for your post.

    Because the question is a license/price issue, you can call 1-800-426-9400, Monday through Friday, 6:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. (Pacific Time) to speak directly to a Microsoft licensing specialist, and you can get more detail information from there. Worldwide customers can use the Guide to Worldwide Microsoft Licensing Sites ( ) to find contact information in their locations.

    Best Regards,

    Lily Wu [MSFT]
    MSDN Community Support | Feedback to us

    Wednesday, September 05, 2012 8:06 AM
  • Thank you Lily, but I do not believe a Microsoft licensing specialist will clarify anything... the information in the article is perfectly clear on what kind of license I need and I know how much it will cost.

    I'm just curious as to how other people react to this and how Microsoft reasoned when they decided to go down this road.

    I mean... Some serious effort has been put into Team Explorer Everywhere to make TFS a viable ALM platform for non VS/.Net developers. But how on earth does Microsoft expect me to convince an agile java team to use TFS if each team member has to buy "Test Professional with MSDN" (cheapest option apparently) to use the Backlog view?

    Transcendent Group

    Thursday, September 06, 2012 12:42 PM
  • hi jesper, totaly agree with you, it look like microsoft doing it again.

    they do that with TFS 2005 with extra coast for license, TFS + CAL + VS, for new product that didnt ready to give good match to competitor. (that didnt help and many new tfs user not come)

    but in next versions, TFS price decrease and cal came with vs pro, also good improvment to the products, make it become good competitor.

    in TFS2012 greate job on web, and with improvment made on TFS2010, source control, merging, relation to "work folder", and more... i think it one of the best ALM tools.

    but this must pay $$$ for getting access, to edit/view sprint that you part of, or move backlog to next sprint, by product owener, developer that has VS pro msdn, or any guide that didnt write code but must buy expensive DEV Tools, dont feet...

    like if you have the good and favorite cheese in your supermarket, but the owner want you to pay 1000$ to become member of that supermarket, for being able buy your favorite cheese, but hey, you get free 3 Kg of good meet and hot-dog... hey you mister owener I AM VEGETARIAN...

    we realy want to use your product but.... you must let us

    • Edited by Lotem Sadeh Monday, September 24, 2012 6:02 AM
    Thursday, September 13, 2012 7:43 AM
  • I totally agee with you about the licensing model. There isn’t enough with one person having access to the planning part I think. Microsoft wants people to use tfs all the way, but this makes me look at alternatives on the market, because one of the reasons for chosing the tfs was that I thought it was included in our professional licenses. I believe there are more mature tools out there, and maybe they are cheaper


    Tuesday, September 25, 2012 5:18 AM
  • I agree with you, this licencing model is wrong, they only want us to spend more and more money.

    I know TFS is not the only ALM on the market, but, can someone name a good one and cheaper one?


    Friday, November 30, 2012 1:29 PM
  • We have the same concern. We have already installed TFS 2012 and our product owners just discovered today that they do not have access to these features. This is not acceptable. Is our only option to purchase MSDN subscriptions for product owners? That is definitely overkill.
    Tuesday, January 15, 2013 12:33 AM
  • We've just installed TFS2012 to evaluate its usage over TFS2010.

    The drag and drop backlog is an excellent improvement and fits our product owner perfectly. Except he doesn't have - and really shouldn't be forced to buy - an MSDN license.

    Does Microsoft have anything else to add to this? What were you thinking? Everything has been adapted more towards scrum/agile but you're shutting out one of the key roles, the product owner.

    It would be really nice to hear from someone who understands the licensing and can explain how a product owner is supposed to use TFS 2012. We would be more than happy to invest in a CAL but a full MSDN license is way over the edge.

    Wednesday, January 23, 2013 9:29 PM
  • I have to jump on this wagon and say that I totally agree! We have now rolled out TFS 2012 for a new client. All our developers have expensive MSDN subscriptions, and our client has invested a lot of money in TFS and CALs for their users. I sat down with one of the product owners just now, and he couldn't see the backlog since he just had the standard license.

    This is in my opinion a very bad decision made by Microsoft. TFS will never get a real momentum as a ALM package if they keep on with this ridiculous licensing.

    Monday, February 25, 2013 9:43 AM
  • This licensing policy is not very conducive to rapid adoption. Besides having to pay a very high price for product managers, I also have the overhead of teaching and supporting product managers through the Visual Studio signup and install pocess.

    Also I have power users in Customer Support who need access to the Sprint planning tools. I have the same issue wih these folks. For a sprint to be successful we need to have a license level for all the engaged teams/stakeholders that is lightweight, easy to use and not expensive.

    I have to purchase MStestPro which is the cheapest of the MSDN levels in order to provide access to users who will not use any of the test functions and features available in testPro.

    I hope Msft fixes this quickly.

    Monday, April 15, 2013 8:12 PM