Microsoft charges thousands of dollars for most versions of Visual Studio. Compare this with companies like Apple and Google and with organizations like GNU and Eclipse that give away developer tools for free, it makes me wonder where the difference lies.
The rationale behind Apple and Google giving away the tools for free is to make it easier for developers to develop for the platform, which in turn results in increased unit sales. Is Windows considered so ubiquitous that it doesn't need additional promotion, and can instead be leveraged by Microsoft to make money on the tools to develop for it? Is it simply because they can charge as much as they do and that some people are willing to pay it?
I'm also curious if the high cost of the tools has limited the number of small software shops that developing for Windows, if the existing shops either use the free (crippled) version, or other, less expensive tools.