(Don't worry - I have my flame proof undergarments on today.)
I know compilers for AVR are free, this is more aimed at our new overlords at Microchip.
Compilers should be free!
Come on people, like Microchip bean counters, when will you realise that you are in the business of selling chips, and great development tools will sell your chips.
Crippled and cludgy development tools make people pass over to the other manufacturers. (And you can't just buy everyone!).
Now, this is for the bean counters:
Say you have a team of 20 staff working in your compiler department. You need to pay them, right? So you need to charge for their products right? NO! WRONG!
By charging for their products you stem the flow of funds into your core business. By giving their product away for free you will reap rewards far greater than the cost of development.
Better yet - make the compilers fully open-source, and all your future proofing, bug squishing and development can be done by contributors who don't need paid!
The world has changed and moved on, it's not all about cost centres and overheads anymore - business needs to be more fluid and instead of "cost centres" you could see them as "sales enablers".
(Mine is the one with the furry collar, thanks).