Looking ahead to 2011: What's on the Microsoft calendar

It's that time: Time to start plotting the travel schedule and penciling in the Microsoft events (that we know about so far) for the new year.

It's that time: Time to start plotting the travel schedule and penciling in the Microsoft events (that we know about so far) for the new year.

CES 2011: CEO Steve Ballmer is the kick-off CES keynoter on January 5 at 6:30 p.m. PT. Microsoft execs are remaining tight-lipped about what's on the agenda, but early leaks have indicated that Ballmer is going to talk about Microsoft's and its partners' plans in the slate/tablet space (again, like he did last year). While some are expecting Microsoft to share details about plans to port Windows to ARM and/or about Windows 8, I'm thinking Windows Embedded is a more likely topic -- and possibly the operating system that will be behind whatever kind of new slates/tablets the Softies unveil at the show this year. The Windows Embedded team has posted a CES press preview article, making it seem as though Windows Embedded Standard devices will be one of the big pushes for the company at CES.

Dynamics CRM 2011 launch
: The virtual (Webcasted) launch event is January 20, 2011, for Microsoft's "CRM 5" release. The Online version of the product will be available in January; the on-premises version in the first quarter of 2011.

Mobile World Congress 2011
: In February (14-17 in Barcelona), Microsoft is expected to talk up some of its future update plans for Windows Phones at the show. Maybe we'll hear a bit about "Mango," the next release of the Windows Phone OS (possibly 7.5) that some of my tipsters have said will deliver in-browser support for HTML5 and Silverlight.

Microsoft MVP Summit: This year, the Most Valuable Professional (MVP) invite-only summit is slated for February 28 to March 2 in Bellevue, Wash.

Game Developers Conference 2011: Could Microsoft be ready to share more about its future plans for Kinect by February 28? (GDC runs from February 28 to March 4 in San Francisco in 2011.)

Microsoft Management Summit 2011: In Las Vegas from March 21 to 25, MMS will be dedicated to the latest on all products and services management-related. Expect possible updates on Windows Intune, the various System Center products, virtualization and more.

Convergence 2011: The annual confab for Microsoft Dynamics ERP/CRM customers and partners is April 10 to 13 in Atlanta. There will be news around the upcoming versions of Microsoft's four ERP suites, no doubt -- and maybe even some very early CRM 6 talk (?).

Mix '11: A beta of Silverlight 5 is one of the expectations for this year's Mix, which is happening (sadly again) in Las Vegas from April 12 to 14. Maybe we'll see the final Internet Explorer 9 release at Mix, as well.

TechEd 2011: Microsoft's annual educational conference, where the talks (typically) focus on already-announced products, is happening from May 16 to 19 in Atlanta this year. Who knows: Maybe we'll hear more about the Office 365 rollout (which my sources are hearing will happen around the first week of June).

E3 2011: This year's game extravaganza is June 7 to 9 in Los Angeles. As usual, lots of Xbox, Xbox Live, games and game peripherals should be on the agenda.

Worldwide Partner Conference 2011: It's off to Los Angeles again this year for Microsoft's annual partner confab, taking place from July 11 to 14.

Professional Developers Conference 2011: No dates or location on this one (yet), but many Microsoft watchers are expecting this year's PDC to be where Microsoft rolls out a public beta (or at least a Community Technology Preview) of Windows 8.

Any other Microsoft-specific events already in your calendar?