July 28, 2006 3:25 PM PDT

Microsoft to charge for Office beta

Microsoft plans next week to charge a nominal fee for Office 2007 Beta 2 downloads, a move that runs counter to the practice held by most software companies.

Consumers who download the 2007 Microsoft Office system Beta 2 will be charged $1.50 per download, beginning next Wednesday at 6 p.m. PDT, a Microsoft representative said.

"Since the end of May, Beta 2 has been downloaded more than 3 million times...That's 500 percent more than what was expected," the representative said. "The fee helps offset the cost of downloading from the servers."

Although Microsoft's Information Worker Product Management Group decided to initiate a fee for new users of Beta 2, the "technical refresh," or update, for current users of the software will remain free, the representative said.

Those who want to test drive Beta 2 to see how it works can access the software for free. But if they want to test it against their internal systems, a download or the CD is required.

The fee marks the first time Microsoft has charged for a download version of an Office beta, the representative said, noting that customers have long had to pay the shipping and handling costs for CD versions of betas.

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60 comments

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Oh, Come Off it, Microsoft!
One article today quotes Robbie Bach's intention to spend
Microsoft's money until the cows come home in order to
outspend Apple - all in the name of winning the portable media
player crown.

This article quotes a Microsoft representative claiming that the
$1.50/download of Office is being done to defray costs.

Even better - neither of your completely non-critical articles
says anything about Microsoft's prior predatory business
practices or their willingness to use their massive Office and
Windows-funded piggy bank as a resource for beating up on the
superior competition.

Along with yesterday's press-release rewrite - uh, I mean blog
post about how wonderful Intel's core 2 Duo is, is there anything
News.com can be critical about except for Apple?

I think the answer has a lot to do with who buys ad space on
your web site.
Posted by Hep Cat (440 comments )
Reply Link Flag
If I was you
If I was you - and didn't like CNET so much, I would go somewhere else for news. That way the stres would be so much less.
Posted by DryHeatDave (79 comments )
Link Flag
Apple Innovation
Well in this case Microsoft actually is copying Apple, but at least they didn't charge $30.
Posted by Andrew J Glina (1673 comments )
Link Flag
To offset costs?
To offset costs of what? Zune?

And they're just SO strapped for cash, aren't they?
Posted by GatesOfHell (210 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ya, to offset what costs?
Serious, what are they offsetting costs from? The billions of dollars
that the company is worth and that this is just MS's way of sticking
it to the guy that just wants to see if they want to fork over
$200-300 bucks for the real version?.
A $1.50, what the hell does that cover? I guess if you add it
together its a couple of cups of Starbucks in the morning for Mr.
Gates and his cronies. Or maybe its offset the costs of MSNTV, we
all know how well that turned out. Expect more of the same.
Posted by toomanypeopleusing (3 comments )
Link Flag
Six Sigma
MS is currently undergoing that Six Sigma... They are cutting and saving everywhere, including the Janitorial team that clean their toilets and the security guard that guard their buildings. It's very cheap, I feel sorry for the people that work there.

lol

If you are laughing as hard as I am right about now, don't think that I am kidding.
Posted by rmiecznik (224 comments )
Link Flag
Perverse
This is unbelievable. Microsoft should be paying beta testers for helping find bugs and providing feedback. This move was no doubt initiated by some MS beancounter who has no concept of customer goodwill/relations. Considering that office can cost £400 a copy this totally sucks. If MS had a patent for fresh air they would charge for breathing.
Posted by Jamie_Foster (77 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Anyone that pays money for a Beta is just plain stupid
Typical Microsoft BS, they make people pay for their crappy
software. They can't even make their OS secure and virus free.
150,000 viruses and counting. I wonder how many bad lines of
code in Vista and Office. I think Microsoft should be broken up.
Ballmer is out of his cotten picking mind to charge for beta
software, but I guess there are idiots out there that will pay for it.
Posted by drblank1 (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
A lot of people pay for a beta
Because, IMO, everyone that purchases a .0 release Microsoft
product is buying a beta.
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Link Flag
Agreed....MS Sucks at EVERYTHING
I couldn't agree more.

I can't believe a company would charge someone to beta test their software.

Shouldn't that be the other way around? If these people are in effect doing work for MS, then shouldn't MS pay THEM?

Seems to me MS should pay everyone who downloads and tests their beta software $1.50.

Talk about suckers....

Merg
Posted by Mergatroid Mania (8395 comments )
Link Flag
dumb microsoft zealots will pay for it
i am sure microsoft has a dumb following that will pay for this beta!
Posted by microsoft slayer (174 comments )
Link Flag
I remember...
well, I think I remember you had to pay to get Windows XP beta back in the day.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Their servers should be safe now
Microsoft can expect a significant reduction in server requests now, maybe as little as .... 0. I usually do not like to bash Microsoft but c'mon this really is pathetic.
Posted by JohnUSAF (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Well they...
will NEED that money to offset the 100 millions that they intend to
lose over the next 5 years on Zune! Why should they pay for their
stupidity when consumers and investors can?
Posted by pmbx (17 comments )
Reply Link Flag
$1.50..?!?! Hardly seems worth charging..
Have to check my calender, surely it can't be April 1 already..!! Besides, only a moron would pay for a BETA..!!!!!
Posted by imacpwr (456 comments )
Reply Link Flag
i hate making titles
1.50 keeps people away who will just download it without really giving a damn about it. (who microsoft really doesnt care about)

People who like to beta test and have the know how wont mind as much paying money to see a sneak preview and use and influence its release.
Posted by Madrone (43 comments )
Link Flag
$2.83 billion not enough profit?
Microsoft must be really having to cut back after its profit fell 24% in the second quarter. I was about to criticize the company for making people pay for a buggy product that might crash their computer, but then I realized that's their business model.
Posted by omaryak (59 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What!?
For a company with a 20 billion dollar war chest they definitely DO NOT need to charge for downloads!
2.83b $ profit just not enough any more?
Posted by grandmasterdibbler (78 comments )
Reply Link Flag
They have to pay for Zune some how
Lets face it Microsoft will have to spend over $1 Billion to make a dent in the Ipod market share. They have to pay for it some how.
Posted by groyal (45 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Has anyone confirmed this
I just did a quick msn search of the site microsoft.com and it can't find anything about charging for a beta. Is there any reliable source that can confirm this?
Posted by moocna (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Elements of Flip3d.
I'd deem the download worth the buck and a half, if in some way it
had elements of flip3d in it. I just love that gimmicky Vista eye
candy stuff, even down to the name.

Say it with me. Flliiiiippp Thhhreeeeee DEeeeeeee!

Now who doesn't thinks thats cool?
Posted by ServedUp (413 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Paying for beta download for software that is 'timebombed'?
Is MicroSoft nuts? Or just that greedy?

Office 2007 Beta clearly states that it will no longer or have limited function after February 2007 (or at least that is what it says on the CD of it I got with my PC World magazine).

Jeeze, I would suggest anyone who wants to try the Beta version get the magazine. At least you get a good read along with it.
Posted by Anysia (104 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Here's how Microsoft can ELIMINATE the dl costs....
First, make it only available to MSDN subscribers, then ignore it as it is passed around via bit torrents.
Posted by Jim Hubbard (326 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's fair and fine with me.
The ones who have this hate-love affair with Microsoft more than deserve it, you created the mounster. There are other Operating Systems and office products for free that work well (more secure and stable than MS) if you use MS is because you want. You have to enjoy the abuse, the constant problems, the trojan horses, spyware, the miners, worms, viruses.

If on top that, knowing the security issues of MS Office Products you feel is worth it to install it in your machine, the small fee is nothing compared to what the risk of using it can cost you.
Posted by gerardogerardo80 (28 comments )
Reply Link Flag
More Virus Propaganda
>MS is because you want. You have to enjoy the abuse, the constant problems, the trojan horses, spyware, the miners, worms, viruses.<

What a bunch of nonsense. I have been using Intel machines since the pre-windows days of DOS, and have never had any of those. As for WinXT itself, it just works... :-)
Posted by john55440 (1020 comments )
Link Flag
People are clueless about how large companys work.
Just because a company is sucessful like microsoft, doesn't mean divisions are free to overspend their budgets.

If the people who are running the office Beta was given 500 million to do this, and it costs 600 million, it wont hurt microsofts bottom line very much, but whoever is in charge might not have a job as long.

Each Division/Project will have a budget, to insure maximum profitablity for the company, overall you wont notice money being drained out of 13 billion dollars in profit, but the way you make it so high is by not letting everyone leak a little bit of money.
Posted by Madrone (43 comments )
Reply Link Flag
use Open Office
why pay for a piece of crap vaporware?
Posted by microsoft slayer (174 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Re: use Open Office
Well, I have to say that I don't think Microsoft Office is anywhere
near a "bad" product, but it would be nice to see some more
competition. As much as I'd >LOVE< to see Open Office there,
from what I've seen when using it (got it right here on my Mac),
it just doesn't seem to be there yet. Will it be? I certainly hope it
will - and soon!

And heck, if Open Office is suited well for your needs, then
there's no question it would be ridiculous to pay God knows how
much for Microsoft Office.

I will say that this is pretty petty of them, to charge for Office
Beta downloads.

Charles R. Whealton
Charles Whealton @ pleasedontspam.com
Posted by chuck_whealton (521 comments )
Link Flag
With all their billions of dollars of profit
With all the billions of dollars that MS makes in profits, and all the billions that Bill and Melinda give away, they think they have to charge $1.50 to download the Office Beta? They're out of their fricking minds. Can everyone spell G-R-E-E-D?
Posted by PCTechGuy (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Tut Tut
The public has to pay to test Microsoft's software and report back any errors !!!!

How about they pay us $1.50 each time outlook 2007 crashes and Drwatson sends a report back to them.

Why cant they use bit torrent to distribute their flaky software ;) that we are making better for THEM.
Posted by Alex Todd (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Weeding out bad testers
Bad testers, those who wouldn't be willing to put the time and effort into testing, may not pay the $1.50, so I can see this as an effort for such. But, then again, $1.50 isn't enough to dissuade people from downloading and not testing the product. They should at least offer a 10% discount if you paid + tested, or give you your 1.50 back at the end of the process. Normally they have to pay their own testing team, so I'm not sure how I feel about forcing consumers to pay for downloads.

Best,

-Auri
Posted by AuriRahimzadeh (17 comments )
Reply Link Flag
hee hee.
The only real difference here is that they're finally admitting that they sell buggy unfinished code.
Posted by TV James (680 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Refund for Testers?
I can understand Microsoft trying to reduce costs, but they can loose a lot of potential beta testers by this.

Why not charge the download fee, but offer to refund it if the user finds, say 10 confermed bugs, or something else to better the product.

That way you encourage people to annilize the product and work to better it.

If not a refund, how about a credit on other products or something.
Posted by startiger (50 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Short Term Thinking
Every week now it seems, we here another story regarding some sort of public relations miscue by Microsoft. The latest involves Microsoft charging to download their beta version of Office 2007. Not only can you help troubleshoot their buggy software, you can also forfeit some of your hard earned money (not to mention dignity), to do it.

When I first heard of this I had to quick click <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/beta" target="_newWindow">http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/beta</a> to review the definition, because obviously it changed without me knowing it. Surprise, surprise to find out it reads like this: a nearly complete prototype of a product (as software) &lt;released in beta&gt; &lt;the beta version&gt;

Im all for programmers &#38; software companies making a good, even obscene financial living, if it delivers a quality product which infinitely makes my life better &#38; easier. A product by the way, that is complete, stable and with as few bugs as possible (as there is no such thing as bug-free software). What part of this description fits MS Office 2007 beta?

Every week, the world is moving closer &#38; closer to an Internet-centric planet, and every week, Microsoft tries to convince us to keep using &#38; propagating 20th century technology. Every $1.50 fee they collect for their beta download, will keep at least one other consumer or business customer from trying it.

Every customer that refuses to pay for beta software, not because $1.50 is a lot of money, but because Microsoft is trying to change the rules so they can win (taking their ball &#38; going home), is another customer who might just decide, screw it when thinking about upgrading.

More short term thinking, but then, thats all Microsoft has, isnt it?



Im Guessing
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://imguessingblog.blogspot.com" target="_newWindow">http://imguessingblog.blogspot.com</a>
imguessingblog@gmail.com
Posted by imguessing (14 comments )
Reply Link Flag
omg
You want the beta and not want to pay for it???

Go to demonoid.com, bitme.org, torrentleech.com or other torrent sites.

Also, go to www.phazeddl.com and search for it, you'll get it off warez! OR use limewire, kazza, warez p2p or anything.

**** microsoft
Posted by jimmy202 (1 comment )
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