VB6 was RAD. VB.NET is no longer the "Rapid" programming VB6 once was. The amount of hoops to jump through, reinventing the wheel, obfuscated code and horrible data methods drive programmers crazy. The problem is the people making the decision never used the programming languages & tools and no deep understanding of "what", "how" and "why".
They may believe the marketing and finance people more than the expert users. If Microsoft don't believe there could be a future for VB6 and no benefit in keeping the tools then there shouldn't be any problem with selling or gifting it to the community. If your 16 year old car had travelled >200'000 Miles, rust, holes in the dash/carpet/upholstery and you thought it wasn't worth maintaining then would you mind your 16yr old son from driving it or converting it to a rally car ?? If you want to keep it then look after it, if it's not worth keeping then give it way or sell it for scrap. That goes for VB6 : If they think the Intellectual Property (IP) is so precious then keep it and update it; if the IP is not precious then MS won't loose much if they give it away or sell it for cheap. Once it's opened up or sold then if it has no value then no one else could make a profit from it and MS looses nothing. What is MS afraid of ? Are they scared that people outside of MS are actually better at efficient and creative programming, better at designing user friendly software and better at keeping customers happy ? Microsoft should stop complaining about bad customers hurting MS staff feelings and concentrate more on the wider user base instead of the PR focus group.