Maybe it's part of their strategy. Release it for free for a while - let people build drivers, etc for it then when it has become more popular and used in peoples homes, bring it back again.
I had wondered about that as well. Build a larger community through a free product and then release the Premise 3.0 that had been rumoured to be in development before the current situation.
All I know is that Motorola Premise has been used in some fairly high end installs and tends to show up more in the Electronic House magazine in relation to HomeSeer, etc.
For example, here's their Home of the year profile for 2006: http://www1.electronichouse.com/homeshow/h...review/372.html
Look under the control section of the components used (vital statistics) and you'll see that it's Motorola Premise 2.0 (the version prior to the latest release). The owner of the home also runs a company that developed an Avatar software that works with Premise.
What's interesting is that on average we see those complaining about the increasing prices in HomeSeer, where as Motorola Premise was considerably more expensive. I think this is why you didn't see as much penetration in the DIY crowd as many thought, if I'm paying that much why not just go full bore Creston?
Now that it's free, it'll be interesting to see the results in the HA DIY crowd.
Anyways, I got excited about it being free as I'm currently in the market for a HA software package. The irony is that the $200.00 price tag of HomeSeer was a show stopper as I need to do it on the cheap (WAF is high for security system, but very skeptical for HA). I wanted to start out slowly with a couple Insteon switches (why I haven't used the X10 capabilites of my Caddx NX8 security system) and look at integrating whole house audio and other features down the road. MisterHouse and other "free" applications just seemed to not meet my needs, but after looking at the free Premise it looked like a much closer match. I can even use my 3Com Ergo Audrey with an Xbrowser plugin.
HomeSeer's MCS Audrey pluggin has been discontinued. http://forums.homeseer.com/showthread.php?t=114903
Existing customers can use it but you can no longer purchase unlock keys for it. This happened during my decision making phase and pushed me into Premise. I can't afford to add a bunch of LCD panels at this point in time (will do this after the WAF proves out over the next year or two) and using my Audrey for that capability was important to me.