Microsoft cancels pre-conference sessions at Build Windows 8 event

If you're among those going to the Windows 8 Build conference next month, be advised the scheduled pre-conference is no longer happening.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

It's just over a month until Microsoft's much-touted Build conference. There's still no session list or speakers list. There's also -- as of the past day or so -- no pre-conference.

Microsoft's original plan, as documented on its Build Web site, was to host a pre-conference on Monday September 12, followed by four days of sessions.Here's a cached version of the Build page showing the scheduled pre-conference:

Thanks to a tip on August 9 by one of my Twitter buds (@preconsult), I saw the pre-conference had been removed from the agenda.

I asked Microsoft officials why the preconference was removed. Here's the official statement:

"In order to better focus on all the new content that will be covered at BUILD, we decided to optimize for the four main days of the event, which will include an enormous number of speakers and sessions. Registration is open on Monday but there will not be any formal sessions for attendees that day. We’re communicating the change now so people have the option to change their travel arrangements."

That's it. I'm not sure what kind of content was due to be presented or by whom, but it's moot at this point.

Build is sold out, but Microsoft is planning to stream the keynotes live and make available publicly all of the session content a day after they happen.

Microsoft has positioned the Build show as a replacement for its Professional Developers Conference (PDC) and WinHEC (Windows Hardware Engineering Conference) — at least for this year. There’s no word as to whether Build will be a recurring event or how much (if any) Windows Phone, Xbox/XNA and/or Azure development content will be included as part of the conference.

Build is expected to focus on Windows 8 and the Windows 8 development platform. Microsoft officials have said attendees will have a chance to play with the Windows 8 bits. Company officials have not confirmed whether the company will release a beta or developer preview build of Windows 8 client and server at the conference, but this is widely expected.

Update: A few folks have suggested to me on Twitter that Microsoft couldn't hold a pre-conference if they wanted to save their big surprises and secret content until Day 1 of the show (Tuesday the 13th). I thought the pre-con might include things like HTML5/JavaScript tutorials and information for those steeped in .Net and Silverlight.... In any case, the pre-con is gone....

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