Why Microsoft Charging for Office Beta is a Good Thing

July 31, 2006

In case you missed it, Microsoft recently announced that it will begin charging $1.50 to download beta versions of Office System.  According to them they are doing this to help offset the bandwidth cost for the large number of downloads they have received.

“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 fee helps offset the cost of downloading from the servers.”

Did you catch that?  500% more than expected?  3 million downloads for a beta?  The fact that there is that much interest in the market for the next wave of Office System is a great thing for folks in our field.  I believe this release of Office and all that goes along with it (SharePoint etc) will be a huge one for Microsoft and for its partners.  There seems to be a lot of genuine interest in the market and that can only be good for implementers, consultants, and developers specializing in the technology.

Oh, one more thing.  I believe MS when it says that this charge is there to offset the bandwidth cost.  In my mind, charging $1.50 is the same as charging $3.00 or $5.00.  Someone who is willing to spend $1.50 is just as willing to spend $5.00 to download.  So if MS were out to make money I believe they would have charged a little more than $1.50.

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