In a somewhat bold move to catch-up with Google in the online mapping space, it was announced on the MapPoint blog today that the MSN Virtual Earth API is now free for commercial use.
What are the gotchas? 1) US maps only; 2) You must support the What/Where boxes; 3) No SLA until Jan 06; 4) MapPoint and VE not integrated. For many developers these limitations could be fine.
As another incentive to get developers on board, the Virtual Earth team is offering a $1000 prize for the ‘coolest app’ developed on their platform by Oct 14th.