In a surprising move, Microsoft has announced that its Robotics Developer Studio, or RDS is now available to anyone for free!
The big package of programming and simulation tools for robotics has previously been available in 3 different versions with various limitations and costs. By offering its new release with all capabilities bundled at no cost, Microsoft hopes to grab a share of the robotics software market. Microsoft's announcement follows a move by French company Gostai to make their URBI software available for free and the success of Willow Garage's Open Source Robot Operating System ROS.
Some background reading:
http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robo ... lable-free
http://www.botjunkie.com/2010/05/25/mic ... tJunkie%29