MicroStrategy did something interesting in mid-April when it began offering a full free download of its latest MicroStrategy 9 reporting suite software for groups of up to 100 users. It includes the core reporting components: the Web interface, the Intelligence Server and a pretty complete set of development tools.    I was surprised when I saw this. Again, for up to 100 users, the software cost is diddly-squat, free, gratis, help yourself. For a high end BI software vendor to do such a thing had me scratching my head. I couldn’t find much marketing around the decision and I’ve been talking with folks like Forrester’s Boris Evelson and BI product analyst Cindi Howson off and on and waiting to see what kind of traffic the free offer would generate.

So I was even more surprised to find that the official release actually took place today and that the free offer had been an unpublicized soft release that spread by word of mouth only.

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