One of the most intriguing areas of marketing is irrational consumerism.
It flies in the face of economics and common sense.
I've tried, several times in different businesses, giving products & services away for free to cultivate a customer base.
People love free stuff and value it right?
What I've learned from doing this is that people only value things that you make them pay for.
If you drop the price of something, or make it free, the consumer perceives the value of what you gave them as low or valueless.
You discover this later when you turn off the freebies, or raise the price.
Charge a premium for your product, or service, and your consumer will, in most cases, believe it's worth it and treat it with reverence.
Apple's been clever at never dropping the perception of value in what they make, thus maintaining the value of their brand.
You'd think those well educated, experienced, business types at Microsoft would know better.
They really need to address the already dreadful consumer perception of the MS brand value and this is doing the opposite.