Background: I have the CD of the second edition (running, should anyone be interested, with version 1.11 of the software), in addition to owning--but never using-- the microfiche edition. The CD edition is a very powerful tool indeed for someone like myself who is professionally involved with books (and therefore words). I purchased the CD in approximately 1994 or '95 for (as I recall) about a hundred dollars (or perhaps quid) from a bookseller in the UK. It still works, with careful installation, up to Windows 7 (I have not tested it on Windows 8).
What's especially interesting to me in light of the Boing Boing discussion is that my license covers up to fifty users (although I have only two installations, and have never made use of this munificence). What is amazing to me is the extraordinary sea-change in the thinking of publishers that is reflected in this fact. Clearly, supplying the same potential fifty users with third edition access would be a costly (and, for the OUP, profitable) exercise.
Now, I am not going to strongly criticize the OUP regarding cost of access to the online-only nature of the third edition, as I do not know their full rationale. (I must deplore the absence of a printed edition.) I do acknowledge that there are searches possible in the digital version that would be utterly impractical in a printed book. But the fact remains; in the 'nineties this publisher offered digital access on an ownership basis quite generously, and I would presume the venture was profitable, as sale of the CD continued for many years. I think there are many OED users who would happily pay a reasonable amount for a CD or DVD edition of the current edition, and would also like web access for smartphone or tablet use. It's a little sad to see the latest form of Murray's extraordinary creation, the original edition of which was created in part by a large number of volunteer readers, turned into a profit center by one of the oldest University Presses in the world.