I received confirmation today that the rumors and suspected April Fools’ hoax regarding SharePoint Designer becoming available via free download are in fact true. Below is the customer ready announcement directly from Microsoft:
“One of the key aspects of the SharePoint value proposition is its ability to support customized solutions built on our platform. Our strategy is to facilitate the creation of these customizations and allow our customers to make the most of their overall investments in SharePoint. Based on the feedback from our customers, we are making SharePoint Designer 2007 available as a free download to all customers of SharePoint and Windows SharePoint Services products. This change takes effect on April 1, 2009. It is important to note that SharePoint Designer 2007 is NOT going end-of-life. The future release of SharePoint Designer will be released simultaneously with the next release of the next version of SharePoint. In addition, customers on SA will be granted rights to Expression Web.”
While this is a great value add for current and future SharePoint customers, this is significant given how powerful SharePoint Designer is. The previous licensing of SharePoint Designer forced many Enterprises to deploy SharePoint Designer to a limited user base thus the potential for harm was limited. Now that the tool is available via free download, care must be taken to mitigate the risk. Click here for information on how to secure your SharePoint implementation and enforce proper governance for SharePoint Designer users.
UPDATE: Official announcement is now available on SharePoint Designer site: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepointdesigner/HA103607611033.aspx