A recent news.com article talks of MS starting to charge for the download of the new Office 2007 Beta.
According to the article the reason is that due to the high download rates, it is costing MS a lot of money in bandwidth. This I think is a very bad move. The whole idea of public beta is to have public at large test the software and so help Microsoft build a better product. The main beneficiary here is Microsoft and the people who download actually get a time constrained eval copy of the new software for use. They spend a lot of thier paid internet connection to download this software and do free testing for MS. So I would assume it is a small thing that MS can do to allow them to use the software for the evaluation time for free.
Looks like someone inside Microsoft just got thier facts wrong. Yes, a lot of people want to look at the new Office, but they are actually helping you, not the other way around.
Hopefully, they recognize this and not take such idiotic mesures. If they do not want a lot of download they can always keep it as a private Beta (Office has been in private Beta for quite sometime now).