I'm sure I'll be adding more to this as the year rolls along, but here's my list of must-attend Microsoft events.
(Some of these -- like the MVP Summit and MGX -- I am not authorized to attend. But I still consider them key for anyone watching the Redmond software giant. And there are a lot of other more consumer-focused/gaming events that aren't really up my alley.)
If Microsoft sticks to its current schedule, I'm expecting a Longhorn Server launch to be added to the calendar, some time in the latter half of 2007. Microsoft just began this week to allow testers to sign up for the soon-to-be-delivered Longhorn Server Beta 3.
On the events short list so far:
* Vista Retail Launch, January 29, New York. Press, analysts and a few select guests are invited to this one. But there are launches being held all over the world, leading up to the January 30 date when Vista goes on sale.
* MVP Global Summit, March 12-15, Seattle A networking and strategy event for Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) only.
* Microsoft Mix07, April 30-May 2, Las Vegas. For Web designers and developers. At last year's event, there were lots of attendees running non-Microsoft software in the "mix." Expect lots of WPF/e and the mysterious "Technology X" to be on display.
* Microsoft Business Intelligence Conference, May 9-11, Seattle. For CIOs, CTOs and other "business professionals": Microsoft's guide to its expanding family of analytics-oriented wares.
* WinHEC (Windows Hardware Engineering Conference), May 15-17, Los Angeles. This year's WinHEC will be heavily slanted toward Longhorn Server. Attendees include OEMs, white-box vendors and driver developers.
* Microsoft TechEd 2007, June 4-8, Orlando. For IT pros and developers who want a refresher on Office, SQL Server, management tools and all that non-sexy stuff.
* Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, July 10-12, Denver. For Microsoft resellers, integrators, VARs and their friends. Lots of sales and licensing content, plus TechEd-like sessions.
* MGX (Microsoft Global Experience), mid-July. Most likely in Denver. For Microsoft's salesforce and invited partners only. Lots of carousing and some previews of products and technologies in the Microsoft pipeline.
* Microsoft Professional Developers Conference, October 2-5, Los Angeles. Lots of geeky deep-dive developer content on Longhorn Server and Visual Studio "Orcas," among other technologies.
Any other Microsoft events on your radar screen for the coming year?