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Microsoft Lumps TechEd, Other Conferences into 'Unified' Event

Microsoft plans to replace TechEd and more specialized conferences that it has hosted for years with a new event in 2015, the company announced on Monday.

The new conference is scheduled for the week of May 4, 2015 in Chicago. It does not appear to have a formal name yet. One Microsoft blog post announcing the event used the name "Microsoft's Unified Technology Event for Enterprises," while two other Microsoft blogs described it as the "unified Microsoft commercial technology conference."

A Microsoft spokesperson indicated that "we've been calling it the Unified Microsoft Commercial Technology Event for now."

A blog post by Julia White, general manager of product marketing for Office, implied, but did not exactly say, that this unified Microsoft event will replace TechEd North America, as well as the SharePoint Conference, Lync Conference, Exchange Conference and Project Conference.

The Microsoft spokesperson would not confirm that, however. "I can confirm that this will not affect TechEd Europe in October or Build," the spokesperson said.

However, veteran Microsoft reporter Mary Jo Foley has described the new unified Microsoft event as consolidating all of the trade shows White mentioned.

White claimed that the new event is being rolled out in response to customer feedback. It will be of interest to IT pros who attended past specialized Microsoft events, she suggested.

"If you attended the SharePoint Conference, Exchange Conference, Lync Conference or Project Conference, this is the conference for you," she wrote. "And, if you're interested in or already using Office 365, this is the conference for you."

Microsoft plans to disclose more details about the unified event sometime in September.

Last year, Microsoft folded its Management Summit event into TechEd 2014. At the time, Microsoft denied that the move was a cost-cutting effort. The new Unified Microsoft Event announcement, however, follows Microsoft's announcement of its biggest headcount cut in company history.

Microsoft will report its fourth-quarter earnings results on Tuesday. The event-cutting news follows the employee-cutting news. Both kinds of cuts tend to draw praise in the financial press.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.