'Beta' as a long-term label...

The WSJ last week had a good column about an interesting fact: for some technology companies, 'Beta' becomes a long-term label (by DAVID KESMODEL)

For years, the term "beta" referred to a relatively short period of testing by a select group of outsiders. These days, beta editions are not only released to the public, but also stay in that mode for months, or even years. Google News, Google's news aggregator, has been in beta for three years. Microsoft's antispyware application has been in beta for nearly a year. (...) The companies say consumers benefit from the practice because the widespread testing helps them make critical improvements and determine which extra features users want.(...) Many consumers will tolerate problems encountered with beta services because many are offered free of charge

Maybe it's connected to the 'kidult' phenomenon (Kidult = A middle-aged person who continues to participate in and enjoy youth culture)?