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Microsoft To Charge For Office Beta Download

Microsoft will charge $1.50 to users who download Office 2007 Beta 2 starting Wednesday August 2.

The company claimed that more than 3 million people have downloaded the test version, a number that exceeded expectations by more than 500 percent. "Given how dramatically the Beta 2 downloads have exceeded Microsoft's goals, we have made the business decision to implement a cost recovery measure for downloading [it]," a spokesperson said Monday.

Office 2007 Beta 2 went live for download and DVD ordering in late May. The next month, Microsoft launched an online-based Test Drive that lets users run Office 2007 applications without installing them. Test Drive will remain free, said the spokesperson.

Users can also still order a DVD copy of the beta for $4.95, plus postage ($2 for U.S. orders.)

Microsoft said it's considering the fee a special instance. "It's a one-time deal," the spokesperson confirmed. And the Office 2007 technical refresh, an update expected in a new weeks, will be available free of charge.

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