I don't really have time for a cogent response so I'll just note that my subscription enabled me to skill up and maintain on my own time and in my own 'lab'. I am rarely done and prepared to tear down within the "free trial" periods (note the plural here). In my world projects spin up, idle, then pop back to the foreground (or not) based on external demands over which I have no control.
Without a doubt MS benefits from the ability of those like me to support (and sell) their products - cost effectively. However, it is increasingly clear MS does not value this. I am painfully and slowly coming to terms with this new reality. Reluctantly, I am forced to evaluate my ability to advocate and support alternatives that I can cost effectively support.