Could Microsoft be planning to put the Start button out to pasture after 15 years of loyal service? If a recently leaked consumer preview of Windows 8 is anything to go by, the answer might be yes.
As reported by the Verge, screenshots of a near-final Windows 8 "Consumer Preview" have leaked to the internet, showing a clean interface with no visible menu or Start button. (You can see the leaked images here.) Previous betas of Windows 8 had included a Start button orb.
According to the Verge's story, the Start button will still live on via a hot corner, appearing when you move the mouse to the corner of the screen.
If the Windows Start button is indeed swept under the carpet it could be a real tipping point. Watch this space. The next preview version of Windows 8 is expected to be released this month.