Microsoft tells users they have to pay to play

If you want to grab a copy of Office 2007 Beta 2 to try out, you had better do it before Wednesday of this week. Microsoft has announced that starting this week it will charge customers $1.50 to download the beta. The move to charge customers for the download is a part of an effort to recover some of the costs associated with the delivering the productivity suite to so many customers.

"In just the past two months since its launch, more than 3 million people have downloaded the 2007 Microsoft Office system beta 2. Given how dramatically the beta 2 downloads have exceeded our goals, we have made the business decision to implement a cost-recovery measure for downloading the beta," said a company representative in an email to CIO Magazine.

Although Microsoft notes that over 3 million people have downloaded Office 2007 Beta 2 since it was first made available in May, Windows Vista has been seeing some heavy downloading as well. In fact, Microsoft labeled Windows Vista Beta 2 the "Biggest software download event in history." With that being said, there is still no word from the company as to whether it will in the future charge consumers who wish to download the Vista beta.

Office 2007 and Windows Vista have been delayed regularly by Microsoft and are now scheduled to launch in January of next year if all goes according to plan. The company has also announced that it will spend nearly $1 billion USD to market its two software juggernauts.

"This week I got an iPhone. This weekend I got four chargers so I can keep it charged everywhere I go and a land line so I can actually make phone calls." -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

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