Some complaints about Microsoft are valid, Some aren't.
Anyone can get Microsoft Beta software. Developer ? Sign up for MSDN. IT Pro ? Sign up for TechNet. The new TechNet direct is a bargain. It gives you all the software and information you need for less than cost of two support incidents, and then throws in two free support Incidents.
The Windows team had a budget for distributing Windows Vista betas. There was a fixed number of "open" downloads and after that they turned the tap off. With an OS you want people to test it on a wide range of hardware and you make it available to testers years ahead of schedule. I ran Windows "Chicago" from mid 1994 before it was called Windows 95. At that time I was running a small Microsoft partner company, we got MSDN, Technet, partner mailings, training mailings. What we didn't get was an early look at office 95.
Times move on. The Office 2007 team wanted 500,000 downloads of office. They didn't turn the tap off. They kept going. They got 3 Million downloads - that's about one Peta-byte of transfers, which takes serious hosting and bandwidth. Did they stop then ? No, they said for a nominal charge people can still download it. And people complained. Next time guys, turn the tap off.
But here's a promise, if anyone can give me valid reasons why
- They should have a beta of office, but
- They have neither TechNet or MSDN and
- They didn't manage to be in first 3 million downloaders and
- $1.50 is not a reasonable charge.
Then I'll get them a copy, and I'll give £1 (near $2 than $1.50) to our charity. Any takers ?