Microsoft officials said a few weeks back that May 12 would be a big day for Office 2010. But Microsoft also is planning to hold an actual business launch event for its next-generation productivity suite in New York City on that date to complement its worldwide virtual launch events.
Microsoft Business Division President Stephen Elop will be keynoting the event, which kicks off at 11 a.m. ET, company officials said.
Microsoft is expected to release to manufacturing both Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 some time in the coming month. Business users will be able to get their hands on those products on May 12. Consumers will have to wait until June to buy the product online and at retail, Microsoft officials said a few weeks ago.
At the end of May, Microsoft is holding another event -- its replacement for the former Windows Hardware Engineering Conference event -- known as Windows Summit 2010.
The Summit, which is happening in Redmond, Wash., is open to select partners and developers only (but not the press or other interested parties). Microsoft officials are describing the event as an opportunity for invited attendees "to interact directly with the Windows team and learn to build great products based on technologies in Windows 7 and Internet Explorer."
Windows 8 information is not on the agenda, company officials told me today, April 1.
The Windows Summit event is "intended for hardware and software designers, developers, engineers, testers, and other technology professionals who want to build hardware and software solutions on the Windows 7 and Internet Explorer platforms and who are looking to engage with Microsoft on an intimate level or who haven’t attended a Microsoft conference in the past 18 months."
More details on the Windows Summit are available here.
Update: A Microsoft spokesperson said the Windows Summit isn't an exact replacement for WinHEC. (I think Microsoft doesn't want to look like it's killing off any conferences, though I've also been hearing there will be no Professional Developers Conference this fall, either.)
The official statement: "Given the economy and many other great events under way MIX, WPC, TechED, etc, another large scale event simply did not make sense. Instead, we are offering Windows Summit as a smaller on-campus event for developers, engineers, and testers who may not have been able to engage with us before want to learn more about Windows 7 and Internet Explorer."
So when is the next WinHEC? "We are currently evaluating the best timing for the next conference for this audience," is the official reply.