Typically, any phone support from Microsoft is something that can get very expensive, very quick. They're changing that, temporarily at least, to promote further development of Internet Explorer 7, and for the remainder of the beta phase it seems that all phone support for IE7 is free. This coincides with the latest beta release of the browser, which MS believes has reached a level of maturity to warrant taking the level of support up.
"We believe that IE 7, even at this beta stage, is a significant improvement and we want as many people as possible to try it and use it," said the browser development team in a post on its blog.
Will IE7 still be released on time in the latter half of this year? If they are taking the trouble to do this level of support, they definitely have a lot of people working on the project, so it seems more likely. And then we'll see if the wait and mass amounts of manpower in development has made it worthwhile.