Microsoft is giving selected software away for free in a novel scheme aimed at testing product quality.
The company said it is conducting a survey of its users as a way of finding out if it is delivering features that they want and that the product measures up to their expectations.
The survey will be conducted by market research firm Griggs Anderson.
In return for filling in the detailed questionnaire, which Microsoft said will take around three hours to complete, users will be sent a choice of either Office 2000, or a selection of two other products from a list which includes Windows 98, Money 99 and Frontpage 98.
This could be considered a fairly generous offer - it is expected that Office 2000 will cost around $799 on release.
Jeremy Gittens, Microsoft Office 2000 marketing manager, said the survey is aimed at US customers who can download the survey from the Internet. However, he did confirm that any non US customers who accessed the survey on the Internet and filled in the survey would also be entitled to the free software.
?The Web is worldwide,? he said. ?If somebody outside the US does complete it, we will deliver the software to them. The bigger the sample, the more meaningful the results. If we get it right it's worth every free copy of Office 2000 we give away.?
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