Visual Studio subscriptions (formerly called MSDN subscriptions) are licensed on a per-user basis. One person can use the software to design, develop, test, or demonstrate his or her programs on any number of devices. A Visual Studio subscription also allows the licensed user to evaluate the software and to simulate customer environments in order to diagnose issues related to his or her programs.
Visual Studio subscribers are also licensed to run the subscriber software (except for Windows and Windows Server) on Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines, providing greater flexibility for developing and testing their applications. The licensing cost for Windows Server or Windows is included in the Windows Virtual Machine rate.
Visual Studio subscriptions are only offered per individual, there are no “team” subscriptions or sharing of subscription benefits. You should select the right subscription for each person on your software development team based on the software that person needs to use and the support benefits required. Remember that team members who install the software (such as IT Professionals who install software for a test lab) will also need a Visual Studio subscription.
Many Visual Studio subscribers use a computer for mixed use—both design, development, testing, and demonstration of your programs (the use allowed under the Visual Studio subscription license) and some other use. Using the software in any other way, such as for doing email, playing games, or editing a document is another use and is not covered by the Visual Studio subscription license. When this happens, the underlying operating system must also be licensed normally by purchasing a regular copy of Windows such as the one that came with a new OEM PC.
A Visual Studio subscription license also allows your end users to access the software to provide feedback and perform acceptance tests on your programs.
Need the full details? Download the Visual Studio licensing white paper.
For MCT Software & Services and MCT Developer Software & Services subscriptions, please refer to the Microsoft Certified Trainer website for details on the training use rights that come with your subscription.