Stay ahead of the game with the latest updates to the Microsoft 365 Developer Program

Kelly Bowen-McCombs (She/Her)

February 2024 Update: At this time, we are limiting access to the Microsoft 365 developer subscription to developers and/or organizations with active subscriptions to Visual Studio Enterprise. The following Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program participants can contact their Microsoft partner to be added to an allow list to receive access to a developer subscription:

  • ISV Success
  • Solutions Partner
  • Specialization/Expert
  • Managed Partners
  • Premier or Unified Support plan members

If you do not currently qualify for a developer subscription, you can purchase a single license Microsoft 365 plan and configure it for development. You also have the option to purchase a Copilot license as an add-on. Members who currently have a subscription are not affected by this change.

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The Microsoft 365 Developer Program is an excellent resource for developers looking to create solutions for the Microsoft 365 platform. The program offers a Microsoft 365 E5 developer subscription, access to sandbox environments, and a range of developer tools and documentation. Additionally, members have the opportunity to provide feedback to help shape the future of the platform.

Program updates

We value your trust. As part of the Microsoft Secure Future initiative, we’ve made the following improvements to the Microsoft 365 Developer Program.

Updated service plans. The Microsoft 365 developer subscription now includes service plans that were previously missing. For a complete list of the service plans that are included, see Product names and service plan identifiers for licensing.

Geographic limitations. For technical and security reasons, the Microsoft 365 Developer Program only supports a subset of countries/regions listed here: Microsoft 365 International Availability. We review our supported country list regularly. If you are unable to sign up from your country or region, then it means we do not support it at this time.

More frequent renewal checks. To offer a higher level of service to our valued customers, we are shortening the time between renewal checks. Renewal depends on meeting developer activity requirements and following our terms and conditions. This subscription should never be used for production purposes. Data can be removed, and membership suspended if we find violations of the terms and conditions.

Removal of the Microsoft Office 365 E3 Developer offer. We’re finishing the process for removal of the original Office 365 E3 developer offer. If you are one of our first developer program members and you are still using the old subscription, you must migrate to a new paid plan before April 1, 2024. Compare Microsoft 365 Plans | Microsoft 365.

Early access to new and improved services. Have you been caught off guard by a feature update or code change in your production tenant? The developer program is switching to preview mode. Coming soon, you can preview features in the Microsoft 365 Developer E5 subscription. This change will give you early access to updates and new features to test existing solutions, plus an opportunity to provide feedback to the product team to help reduce disruption before the change is generally available.

For more information about the Secure Future Initiative, see the following:

Microsoft 365 developer research panel

We are creating a research panel of Microsoft 365 developers who can help guide us and influence the program development. By joining, you can help us determine and prioritize upcoming features, share your challenges, review design prototypes, and offer suggestions for program improvement. When you join the panel, we’ll reach out to you to share designs and a variety of studies to get your feedback.

As part of the research panel, you will receive invitations to participate in user research studies. You can decide how often you want to participate and which studies to do. You can leave the panel at any time.

Join the Microsoft 365 developer research panel today!

Follow us on X (Twitter) / @Microsoft365Dev and subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up to date on the latest developer news and announcements.

156 comments

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  • Mike zimmerman 5

    I have to say that I wrote my entire reply but realized it probably would have been bleeped at best had I posted it unfiltered.

    So, here’s how chatgpt made it kid friendly and put a comedic spin on it, and yes this is my true story:

    Wow, talk about getting hit harder than a piñata at a birthday party gone wrong.

    Apologies for the dramatic monologue; it’s been a year that could rival a Shakespearean tragedy.

    Picture this:
    I’m your friendly neighborhood SPFx developer, cruising along for five whole years using my development tenant to develop SharePoint and Teams apps, when BAM! I get hit with a layoff late last year.

    No worries, I think, I’ll just brush up on my skills and keep my portfolio polished while job hunting.

    But oh no, life decides to crank it up a notch. In a single day, my birthday becomes a double whammy as I bid farewell to my dear mom (yes she actually passed away on my birthday) and then discover that my last five years of work are dangling over the digital abyss.

    But hey, if life’s gonna throw punches, might as well roll with the comedic jabs, right? Here’s to hoping my next birthday brings fewer surprises and maybe a cake that’s not laced with existential dread.

    -Now back to the real me.
    Special thanks to chatgpt for at least putting a smile on my face as I get kicked at a real fun time.
    Sure was a nice beginning to 2024….

  • Steve Rollins 1

    Reading the blog post it implies that existing subscribers are not impacted by this change. I had a subscription for over 3 years up until last month when I lost my subscription and the reason given for losing the subscription was the changes mentioned in this blog post. So which is it?

  • Simon Chalfont 2

    Can you be more specific about the instruction in the February 2024 Update that states “The following Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program participants can contact their Microsoft partner to be added to an allow list to receive access to a developer subscription”?

    As a Solutions Partner with multiple designations and Specialisations, it is not clear what action I am supposed to take. We are not a Managed Partner so I don’t know where to begin in terms of who I should contact. I thought about using Partner Center, but I suspect their remit is limited to just Partner Center support. I have a new joiner and would like them to be able to set up a Developer tenant but the instruction as posted is not clear.

  • Tobias A. 9

    For non-partners, non-MVPs and normal developers, professionals and experts, that means they have to pay now one of these two VS subscriptions to get a new developer tenant:

    Visual Studio Professional for 1.199 USD / 1.673 CHF / 1.530 EUR in the first year. In addition, customers have to buy productive M365 licenses.
    Visual Studio Enterprise for 5.999 USD / 8.371 CHF / 7.707 EUR in the first year. In addition, customers have to buy productive M365 licenses.

    The exchange rates from USD are also more than unrealistic.

    @Kelly If Microsoft thinks this is a fair and valuable offer, then Microsoft is now just a profit-only organization with no interests in developers, professionals and experts.

  • Samrat Parwani 4

    Hello,

    I have a few queries regarding the Microsoft Developer Program:

    1. I’m currently unable to qualify for the Microsoft 365 Developer Program Sandbox subscription. It seems access has been limited for some users. Could you please clarify if this limitation is permanent or if it’s only for a certain time period?

    2. On my previous account, I was inactive for an extended period. However, I now wish to resume development activities. Unfortunately, my account’s sandbox subscription has expired and wasn’t renewed due to inactivity. Is there any possibility to regain access to that account? I’m eager to resume development and cannot afford to wait much longer.

    I would appreciate it if you could address these queries at your earliest convenience.

    Thank you.

  • Mark Edwards 11

    It seems things aren’t very well joined up regarding this change!

    The official Microsoft Learn Course for MS-900 (M365 Fundamentals) which I am working through, explicitly requires students to join the M365 Developer Program in order to take the course. I’ve been trying unsuccessfully for the last 90 minutes to register with various accounts, but keep getting the message “you don’t currently qualify” with no detail as to why, or how to fix it.

    See the MS900 Course page here that requires you to join the 365 Developer Program – https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/training/modules/what-is-m365/5-explore-microsoft-365-tenant

    On googling it seems hundred’s of people are having the same problem, which has led me here. If you have disabled free access to the program, how can you complete the MS900 course? There’s nothing on the Developer Program website advising of the change, so annoyingly i’ve wasted a lot of time this evening going round in circles.

    • Robert Czymoch 4

      You now need to be in an organization with an Enterprise agreement and require a Visual Studio Enterprise subscription. Which locks out everyone trying to learn the platform. I can see that it was probably being exploited by some malicious users but there had to be a better way.

      • Kody Jordan 0

        It’s unfortunate that there wasn’t an option to try and boot out bad actors before just booting everyone.

  • Lewis Grainger 6

    Kelly,

    I am trying to design a solution for a large client, that cannot be completed in a production environment (for obvious reasons). I had a previous subscription on my personal account that unfortunately became inactive.

    I have tried to sign my business up to the partner programs you mention, but this fails too. I just need access to a dev tenancy, please can you tell me what I have to buy/register/join to gain access to this. This is costing me a lot of time and money and is making a mockery out of teams that have designed and implemented Microsoft solutions for years. How are we supposed to consult/design/implement Microsoft solutions, without the tools to complete this? I have explored many avenues and nobody seems to know the correct answer. I just need to know explicitly what hoops I need to jump through, please?

    Lewis

  • rederman 7

    Hi there. I dont need that Ai stuff. i just need access to the Microsoft 365 Developer Program to test if software i am currently writing works with Micsosoft Exchange / Outlook. When will the Microsoft 365 Developer Program be available again?
    Or if it now is a paid service, which is the cheapest Microsoft 365 plan that includes sandbox?

  • bill-fry 7

    I am following a training course in Phuralsight on Introduction to Microsoft Intune. Part of the training is to setup a Developer account to work with the dowloadable lab. Since the developer account is now closed, how am I supposed to complete the training? We don’t use Visual Studio and not going to spend $6k.

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