A Microsoft spokeswoman today announced that the company will make the beta of its next Office version paying, as soon as Wednesday, 6PM. The download cost will be 1,50$, and will affect the public Beta 2 version. While beta 2 will be covered by this policy from now on, the recently announced Beta 2 Technical Release should remain free, along with the Test Drive.
"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 spokeswoman said. "The fee helps offset the cost of downloading from the servers."
"This is the first time Microsoft has charged for an Office beta, and it's not something that is planned for on a repeat basis," the spokeswoman said.