MICROSOFT HAS announced that it is to begin charging for exams in its beta certification programme.
The reason for the decision is cited as being the number of people who have registered for the exams, which have hitherto been free, and then not bothered to attend, meaning that the waiting list is constantly huge.
As a result, Microsoft can't gather enough data to take the exams out of beta, meaning they never become fully fledged and the whole process grinds to a halt. So it's time to find another way - the old carrot whittled into a stick approach.
In the Born To Learn blog, Liberty Munson explains: "Starting with our next beta, Exam 537: Configuring and Operating a Hybrid Cloud with Microsoft Azure Stack, we are introducing a model where the beta codes will be an 80 per cent discount off the exam price rather than a 100 per cent discount."
"If you take the beta exam, the 25 per cent that you paid when registering for the beta exam will be applied to the next exam that you take within one year. It doesn't matter if you pass or fail the beta exam. If you show up as you said you would for the beta exam, you will receive that 25% discount on a future exam—effectively making the beta free (plus a bonus!)."
It's similar to the OnePlus 5T launch held yesterday. The (poorly communicated) idea was "let's get the biggest fans down to the launch", so they charged $40, which was taken off the price of the phone. It wasn't meant to be a money-spinner, but money is always a great motivator.
We're the first to moan when Microsoft makes mistakes, so let's be fair here. Not only is Microsoft actually doing something positive when, for once, it's the customers that are stopping them trying to do something good, but as well as that, it has successfully found a way to encourage people to keep learning.
So that's the good stuff. However, the comments field of the blog is littered with people from outside the US (notably the first two comments are the UK, where we are based and India, where we have a healthy readership) complaining that the beta exams are geo-locked so only US-based learners can apply.
Surely the best way to beta-the-heck out of these bad boys would be to open it up to a wider audience? Of course, we don't know the motive for the geo-locking so we're not judging, but we wouldn't be doing our job if we didn't.... you know... enquire inquire. µ
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