No one -- especially not at Microsoft -- should be surprised that folks will be a little irked by the news that downloads of the Office 2007 beta 2 will start costing $1.50 a pop this week.
The INQUIRER, a British tech site with more than a little attitude, speculated this morning that "the Beast of Redmond" might take in as much as $4.5 million off the move, if the Office 2007 beta remains as popular as it is now.
The INQUIRER suggests that's quite a bit of cash for some additional bandwidth -- Microsoft describes the move as a "cost-recovery" measure that it doesn't plan to make an ongoing policy. We'd add that $4.5 million is hardly noticeable at Microsoft, either from a revenue or expense point of view.
In a "fair and balanced" concession, The INQUIRER does note that Mac OS X, a similarly whopping "free" executable, is not available for download and costs $20 for the CD.
Despite the 3 million downloads of Office 2007 to date, Gartner recently said most businesses will be in no hurry to migrate to the new productivity suite. However, several sources have praised Office 2007 as a legitimate step toward Microsoft's longstanding goal of an online collaboration platform.