Announcing the release of Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions: Good news if you want to try .Net.
Until November 7, 2006, we are promotionally discounting the downloadable versions of Express to free. This doesn’t mean that the product turns off after a year, but rather that as long as you download the product before November 7, 2006, you can get it for free and you can use it forever.
They had Express versions of the last version of Visual Studio, but it was a beta that expired.
I just paid $750 for the full version of Visual Studio 2003. Wonderful. The fact that I hate it makes me more irritated that I paid for it.