February 28, 2012, 7:44 AM — Microsoft confirmed last week that it won't webcast Wednesday's launch event for Windows 8 Consumer Preview.
The event, which is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. local time in Barcelona, Spain (9 a.m. ET, 6 a.m. PT), will introduce the next milestone in Windows 8's development. Most experts expect the company to make the Consumer Preview available for download during or immediately after the launch event.
Microsoft has said little in the line of specifics about Windows 8 Consumer Preview other than what it has disclosed on its "Building Windows 8" blog. Several leaks of the preview code, however, have been dissected by blogs which have, among other things, reported that the operating system's 17-year-old iconic Start button will be scrubbed from the new edition.
The company intends to open the Windows Store to the public at the same time it ships the preview. That store -- in some ways Microsoft's answer to Apple's Mac App Store -- will only offer free Metro-style apps during the preview period.
The Consumer Preview follows a rougher-edged build for developers that Microsoft opened to all comers last September.
How the company will distribute Windows 8 Consumer Preview is unclear, but if the Developer's Preview is any indication, Microsoft will not limit the number of copies it delivers, as it did with the Windows 7 public beta of early 2009.
Microsoft has webcast major events in the past, including the September 2011 presentation by Windows chief Steven Sinofsky that pitched Windows 8 to developers.
The IDG News Service, which is operated by IDG, the parent company of Computerworld, will cover the Feb. 29 event. Computerworld will follow that with additional news stories and analysis.