Microsoft's launch of a Windows 8 Consumer Preview on February 29th will also see the debut of Visual Studio 11 developer tools and a Windows Server 8 beta. Visual Studio 11 takes a similar simplification approach that the company has used across its Metro design. Microsoft has removed a number of "unnecessary" toolbar commands in favor of keyboard shortcuts that the company has found developers typically use. There is also a reduced use of colors in Visual Studio 11, focusing on the content like Microsoft's work with Office 15.

Windows Server 8 will also launch into beta form next week, offering businesses and enterprises a closer look at the next-generation server for Microsoft's Windows 8 client operating system. The software giant has started to publish certification documentation on MSDN, promising that the majority of applications that currently run on Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 "should work" on Windows Server 8 beta. Both Visual Studio 11 and Windows Server 8 betas will be accompanied by an early test copy of .NET Framework 4.5, rounding off next week's developer and consumer releases.