When a "standalone" product, such as Microsoft Office 2007, 2010, 2013, is in process of being upgraded, it goes into Beta; invitations are sent out to known beta testers. Also, announcements are placed in various places so those who wish can apply to test. Generally, the IT Pro, Power User, Corporate employee and everyday user will be chosen.
The recruits will download what are called "beta bits" among other things. Since this is untested, Microsoft doesn't require a person to buy the beta program. However, at the end of the Beta, participants don't generally get a free copy of Office. There are exceptions, though . . . but only those who have been outstanding testers have qualified. Throughout the years I've tested Office, only once did I get a free copy and that was Office 2013. This, of course, only applies to "standalone" Microsoft Office.
And now we come to Microsoft Office 365, which is a subscription product. Because it's a subscription product, it's kept perpetually up to date and secure. When you subscribe to Office 365, you get the latest version of Office available. So, you wouldn't be paying to test; you'd be paying for an existing product. However, if you don't plan on subscribing to Office 365 at the end of the beta, there's no reason to test it.
Microsoft allows a trial period of Microsoft Office 365 so you can figure out if you'd be interested in the subscription. If you like what you see, you would probably be required to have a subscription before being allowed to test. Quite frankly, Microsoft doesn't need those not familiar with O365 to test.
There are "perpetually owned" Office programs that have Technical Previews from time to time. I don't think there's an active one at present, but you'd probably be more interested in that unless you decide to subscribe.
Let's take Windows 10 for instance. I've been on that Technical Preview almost from the get go. I created a dual boot system, joined the Insider Program, downloaded the beta bits, installed them on my computer and away I went. This, with no prior instance of Windows on the partition I installed to.
Fast forward to when Windows 10 went GA/RTM. When the smoke cleared, we were told that if we wanted to use Windows 10 forever, it would have to be upgraded from Windows 7 or 8. Installations such as mine (no prior Win 7 or 8) were not eligible for free Windows 10. We were also told that if we wanted to continue as Insiders (Beta Testers), we could continue to download Insider Builds as long as Microsoft makes them available. Bottom line: If we installed Windows Insider Builds without benefit of a prior installation of Windows 7 or 8 and decide to stop being an Insider, we have to uninstall Windows 10 from the computer and buy a copy of Windows 10.
On or about July 29, I upgraded my Windows 8 partitions/computers to Windows 10 RTM. I also elected to continue as an Insider on the other partition.
So, at this point, as a Beta Tester of Windows 10, Microsoft didn't give me anything for testing except the upgrade I was entitled to!
Thank you for detail clarification.
I have been marked as being greedy for a freebie.
Hell, no ! I am just wanting to know HOW do I test a product if it is not given to me without me paying for it.
THAT is ALL I wanted to know from my very beginning of the discussion.
Hell, I'll send it back to MS after testing, if that's what they want.
I am done with this topic. Thank you for your patience.
Thing is, there was a time when at least 50% of beta testers expected a free copy of everything they tested. You should have seen the uproar when Microsoft put the condition of having filed at least three bugs on Windows 7 in order to get a free copy. Some wanted to get the beta bits, do no real testing and at the end receive their free copy of Windows 7.
I think this may have all gotten off track because Microsoft requires us to own a subscription to Office 365 if we want to test.
Microsoft doesn't require us to have a copy of Microsoft Office 2013 in order to test the next version of "standalone perpetual ownership" Microsoft Office.
Rule of thumb with pretty much all betas:
If it's "standalone" (not a subscription) you get the beta bits free. If it's a subscription, you need to own a subscription; reason being that the beta builds on the existing subscription product.
The freebies given to beta testers that used to be so prevalent with Microsoft at the end of a Beta kind of went out of style when Steven Synofsky took over. He changed Beta Testing forever, and not for the betterment, either.
I am . Does this mean Microsoft wants to give up on the public testing windows 10? I am pretty sure a lot of people wouldn't want to sign a NDA.
There are public Betas (Windows 10) and there are private Betas (Microsoft Office) and then there are Betas that start out as private Betas and toward the end of testing turn into public Betas.
When you're on a Private Beta, if you want to participate, you're required to sign an NDA. It's as simple as that and if you don't want to sign the NDA, you don't get to test. After all, it's your choice.
The latest Microsoft Office Beta started out as private (NDA was required) and then went public (no NDA required for new participants and those who signed NDA were released for the most part).
Hope this helps you to understand.
I would consider being a beta tester if the requirement was you had to own a retail copy of the program to qualify. What I wouldn't do is pay for a beta copy so I could be a tester.