"it appears to have let an alpha or beta release escape as production"
That makes it sound like an accident - surely a company as big and experienced as this shouldn't make such glaring errors?
Given that they are seemingly focused on being ready for Windows 10, I would suggest that this release was as planned, and that the Beta testing was intended to be done by their existing customers. With predictable results.
After all, they would only be following Microsoft in seeing the user base as a free testbed.