In a bygone era, this version might have been labeled “beta.” Indeed, when Windows boss Steven Sinofsky laid out the Windows 8 roadmap last September, that’s the word he used for this milestone. But Microsoft has chosen instead to label this release “Consumer Preview.”
Why the name change? Blame Google. And Apple. And Microsoft. Especially Microsoft.
They’re literally not making betas like they used to. Originally, beta was the phase of software development when a product was feature complete but needed more testing and tweaking to root out bugs. That was usually the stage at which some small subgroup of the developer’s customers got to try the product, usually for free.
Read on at Ed Botts Column at ZDNet