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Microsoft Makes Action Pack Digital

The Action Pack, formally the Microsoft Action Pack Subscription (MAPS), is a quarterly bundle of trial software for internal use by Registered Members of the Microsoft Partner Program. Since Nov. 30, 2007, partners have also had to pass an exam to receive the Action Pack, a move instituted to reduce abuse of the popular deal.

Roughly half of Registered Members subscribe to the Action Pack. Microsoft Certified Partners and Microsoft Gold Certified Partners have access to a different kit.

Although it is eliminating the costs of shipping physical media, Microsoft is keeping the price at $299 plus tax for U.S. partners. Subscribers can elect to continue to receive physical media along with the downloads for $498 per year. The timetable for the rollout of digital distribution varies by country.

In addition to reducing environmental impact by going digital, Microsoft says in promotional materials that the digital setup will allow partners to download the software immediately or any time and make it easier to manage user access, license keys and a license statement. Access to the digital Action Pack is through the Microsoft Partner Marketing Center.

Contents of the first digital Action Pack should include 10 licenses each of Windows 7, Office Enterprise 2007, Virtual PC 2007, Hyper-V Server 2008, Virtual Server 2005 R2 and System Center Essentials 2007. It should also include five licenses of Dynamics CRM 4.0 Workgroup Server and one license each of Small Business Server 2008, Essential Business Server 2008, Home Server, SQL Server 2008, Exchange Server 2007, SharePoint Server 2007 and other software, according to Microsoft FAQs.

Author's note: This entry has been updated to remove references to the price of the Action Pack dropping by $100. When I originally posted, the Microsoft site listed the price of the Action Pack at $199 instead of $299. The lower price was temporarily listed on the site, but I'm told by a Microsoft spokesperson that it was simply a typo.

Posted by Scott Bekker on June 03, 2009