Feeds

Microsoft needs 'off switch'

I'd like to test your beta, where do I pay?

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Comment What are we to make of the latest news about Microsoft Office – namely the story that the company has opted to charge people to download betas rather than cut off the supply? It reckons it has supplied 500 per cent more betas than it planned.

Does this mean someone in Redmond forgot to write an accumulator routine that said "stop at 600,000";?

OK, so it is only $1.50, but if this is still in the realm of genuine beta testing then the idea of asking people to pay to see how many bugs a vendor can generate is an idea that we must sincerely hope does not become endemic amongst the software development community. Getting potential customers to pay good money to find that any product might still not be fit for purpose or riddled with bugs would no doubt be an attractive prospect for vendors.

The next step must surely be that any user finding a problem with the beta will be obliged to pay Microsoft for that privilege. If paying for the server costs of downloading is already required, the actual costs of answering questioning emails from users – let alone fixing problems they might still uncover – is a far meatier economic burden and must obviously be passed on.

Alternatively, of course, the beta programme is simply marketing under another name – the old buy-now-pay-later game of getting three million people using it for "free" until they become so enamoured or committed to it that buying a licence is the easiest option. That in itself is fair enough, but modifying the rules so people pay to be marketed to, paying-now-for-the-chance-to-pay-later, is inspired from a marketing department perspective.

It is a bit like getting a free-sheet local paper and having to pay a $1.50 marketing charge to every advertiser.

This would almost rank as amusingly inspired tactics if it wasn't for the fact that Microsoft hides behind the line that the demand for betas was much greater than it planned. Can't they develop an "off switch" at Redmond?

And if it is an overly successful marketing gambit, then the company should just bite the bullet. It will surely turn most of the "beta testers" into licence-holding customers, and it can't be that short of wonga to need the money, can it? ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Microsoft to bake Skype into IE, without plugins
Redmond thinks the Object Real-Time Communications API for WebRTC is ready to roll
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
Mozilla: Spidermonkey ATE Apple's JavaScriptCore, THRASHED Google V8
Moz man claims the win on rivals' own benchmarks
Yes, Virginia, there IS a W3C HTML5 standard – as of now, that is
You asked for it! You begged for it! Then you gave up! And now it's HERE!
FTDI yanks chip-bricking driver from Windows Update, vows to fight on
Next driver to battle fake chips with 'non-invasive' methods
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
Ubuntu 14.10 tries pulling a Steve Ballmer on cloudy offerings
Oi, Windows, centOS and openSUSE – behave, we're all friends here
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?