By now, you've seen all the news about SharePoint Designer being free. I wanted to give a little color commentary on how it all came to happen and the lead-up to announcing the news. About 6 months ago, the SharePoint leadership team got together to talk about the SPD business. We all wanted to grow the usage of SharePoint as a platform for building applications or customizing the out of the box applications that we ship such as team sites. One of the pieces of feedback we continued to hear was that SPD was priced in no man's land, it wasn't expensive enough to land in with the other designer type of products and it wasn't cheap enough to make it a non-nuisance buy from a procurement standpoint. Plus, we didn't want the price of designer to limit the number of people who would get value from it.
So, we decided to make it free of charge to all SharePoint customers. That's when the interesting journey began of how to turn something from a product you pay for into a product you get for free. Many twists and turns later (people posting the news before we announced it, the product going free on April 1st which is a bad day to announce anything, etc), we landed on announcing the free product on April 2nd. We're investing a lot in SPD for the next release so I wouldn't equate the new price with the value you're going to get. I think you'll be very happy with some of the changes coming in SPD v.Next. A little too early to say exactly what they are but we've been aggressively listening to folks who use SPD and those who don't to understand what we need to deliver.
Enjoy the free product and build some great SharePoint solutions!