Microsoft has confirmed that its Visual Studio 2005 Express development software will remain permanently free of charge.
The Visual Studio 2005 Express editions would join the SQL Server 2005 Express editions as a “no-cost offering”, the company said. It was previously expected to be offered free for a year.
Since the launch of the Visual Studio and SQL Server Express editions in November, they have been downloaded more than five million times.
“By making the Visual Studio 2005 Express editions available free of charge, we’re putting the power of programming into the hands of an exploding community of recreational programmers,” Soma Somasegar, corporate vice-president of Microsoft’s developer division, said.
Last month, Microsoft finally released its Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server, after a four-month delay. The company released the rest of the Visual Studio 2005 package in November, but failed to ship the server component that allows Visual Studio to be used by development teams.