Microsoft has confirmed it will soon be killing off TechNet subscriptions, which have been abused by tech pirates for years.

TechNet is aimed at IT teams, giving them multiple licenses to Windows operating systems and Microsoft software for a low fee so they could test out fixes or other changes before sending them live across their organisation.

But many simply bought the licenses to run Windows at a lower cost than if they bought a standard off-the-shelf product. They could also sell the extra licenses they got with a TechNet subscription, which cost $199 (£131) for a Standard version.

Microsoft has now contacted users telling them new subscriptions and renewals will remain on sale until 31 August, whilst activation of those subscriptions will be supported until 30 September. That means that TechNet will most likely be all over by the end of September 2014.

The tech titan said it was retiring TechNet due to changes in how IT operates. “As IT trends and business dynamics have evolved, so has Microsoft’s set of offerings for IT professionals who are looking to learn, evaluate and deploy Microsoft technologies and services,” an updated FAQ read.

“In recent years, we have seen a usage shift from paid to free evaluation experiences and resources.

“Although the TechNet Subscriptions service has experienced piracy and license misuse in the past, there was no single factor in the decision to retire the TechNet Subscriptions service.”

The company said it would continue to improve its free offerings for IT, including evaluation resources and related services offered through the TechNet Evaluation Center, the Microsoft Virtual Academy and the TechNet Forums.