Free Offer for Office 2007 Beta 2 Ends Wednesday

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Free Offer for Office 2007 Beta 2 Ends Wednesday

by Paul Thurrott, thurrott@windowsitpro.com

Maybe the free 2007 Microsoft Office Beta 2 offer was just a little too enticing. This week, Microsoft will pull the plug on free downloads of Office 2007 Beta 2. Instead, the company will begin charging a nominal fee for the software download to offset costs.

The $1.50 download fee will kick in on Wednesday, August 2, 2006, at 9:00 p.m. PST. Microsoft says that more than three million customers--or about five times the traffic Microsoft was expecting--have already downloaded the Beta 2 software. Because of the size of the download (550MB to more than 2GB depending on which components you select), the hosting costs have been extravagant. Customers can also opt to receive a DVD of the beta by snail mail for a small shipping fee.

This is the first time Microsoft has charged customers to download beta software, but the software maker says it isn't setting a precedent. An upcoming Technical Refresh of Office 2007 Beta 2, for example, will be made available to Beta 2 users for free.

If you'd like to check out Office 2007 Beta 2 but don't want to pay for it, you can use the test drive Web site, which lets you experience Office 2007 applications from within Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE). The test drive environment includes tutorials on how to use new Office 2007 features.

2007 Microsoft Office Beta 2 download and DVD order
http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/beta/getthebeta.mspx?showIntro=n,P>

2007 Microsoft Office Beta 2 test drive
http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/beta/testdrive.mspx?showIntro=n

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