Windows 8: Why the coming beta is likely to be labeled the ‘consumer preview’
By Mary Jo Foley | January 23, 2012, 11:38am PST
Summary: The coming Windows 8 beta is looking more and more like it will be called the “consumer preview.” Why the change in nomenclature?
Is Microsoft going to position the coming Windows 8 beta as a “consumer preview”? And if so, why?
Microsoft officials have repeated recently that the Windows 8 beta release is on track for late February 2012. But one public relations official with the Windows team provided a slightly different message — and one that escaped notice by most of those who read her quote — during the Consumer Electronics Show.
As reported by Pocket Lint, Windows Director of Consumer PR, Janelle Poole, stayed on message regarding Microsoft’s continued reluctance to talk about its release-to-manufacturing/ship targets for Windows 8. But, as Windows SuperSite’s Paul Thurrott noted last week, part of Poole’s message deviated from the usual script. Poole called the coming Windows 8 beta “the consumer preview.” Here’s her quote:
“We haven’t talked about the release date and we generally don’t. We are talking milestone to milestone, so for us right now we’re talking about the next milestone being the consumer preview happening in late February.”
If you know anything about the Windows org, you know words matter. This wasn’t a random throw-away.
My first question was whether it’s just the internal Windows consumer PR team calling the beta “the consumer preview” or if the Microsoft brass plan to do the same. I’m hearing that the Windows organization is highly likely to settle on “consumer preview” as the name for the late-February beta.
The bigger question — which Thurrott and I discussed during the most recent episode of Windows Weekly — is why Microsoft may label this the consumer preview.
Thurrott’s theory was that maybe the developer preview (the September Build version) will be followed by a consumer preview (the beta) and finally the enterprise preview (the release candidate).