MS to Charge for Office 2007 Beta?

July 29, 2006
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Url: http://news.com.com/Microsoft+to+charge+for+Off…

It looks like Microsoft is going to start charging for the Office 2007 Beta (only $1.50 but that’s not the point).  This seems asinine to me. Microsoft is getting feedback and a huge testbed as well as buy-in from early adopters, so they should be able to eat the download costs. I’ve always understood the fee for the DVD/CD packages, but for the download?

It seems to me that Microsoft is headed in the wrong direction the last year.  Pushing the anti-piracy app as a “patch” in Windows Update; pushing IE7 in Windows Update; and now this. It is as if someone inside MS has decided that it is now ok to use thier muscle. The post-Justice department era is over and Microsoft seems like its heading down the arrogance road again.

I’ve been on the bandwagon a lot the past ten years, but if this continues I can only imagine that their dominance will slip even more than it has (looking at the Apple Laptop sales figures is a sobering reality to the slippage). With Bill on his way out and the prospects of real leadership at the top of Microsoft fading, I hope someone will step up and right the ship. The guy who designed Lotus Notes and Groove might just end up running Microsoft.  That just scares me.

I’ve heard again and again that Microsoft is “betting the company” on Vista. That’s pretty scary as many of the ‘Vista’ features have either died (e.g. WinFS, Peer to Peer sharing, personal encryption) or have been back-ported to XP (.NET 3.0).  Vista may be the new Windows ME.

I’d love to hear what people are thinking about these latest moves by Microsoft. Am I wrong?