Visual Studio 2013 RTM

In case you haven’t heard yet, Visual Studio 2013 (RTM) has been made available to MSDN subscribers this morning.  In case you aren’t already familiar with the different flavours of Visual Studio, here’s a link to the product comparison page at

One important change which I highlighted when I reviewed the Release Candidate version is that the product now prompts you to authenticate with a Microsoft Account (formerly Live ID, formerly MS Passport). This caused me some concern for those wishing to install Visual Studio in an environment with no Internet access, or with no ability to authenticate against Microsoft servers.

As I was exploring the product keys on MSDN, I noticed that there was a section for Visual Studio 2013.  Under each Volume License (VL) key was a static activation key and the following text:

“The product key is not embedded with Visual Studio 2013. When you launch the product, you can simply sign in with the Microsoft account associated with your MSDN subscription and your IDE will automatically activate. An added benefit of signing in to Visual Studio is that your IDE settings will sync across devices, and you can connect to online developer services. If you’d rather enter a product key, then simply bypass signing in and enter the product key found here by selecting Register Product under the Help menu. “

This is good news for those who prefer not to, or can not use a Microsoft account with Visual Studio 2013. 

Personally, I think that synching my IDE settings “across devices” is a pathetic “benefit” of locking Visual Studio to a Microsoft account; and I have no idea what “online developer services” are – aside from the ability to publish Windows 8 Apps and Windows Phone 8 apps to the app store.

Again, I entreat Microsoft: keep your marketing and licensing teams away from Developer Tools!

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