Microsoft's 2012 conference dance card filling up, minus Mix?

It's increasingly looking as though Microsoft won't be holding its annual Mix designer/developer conference in 2012. What Microsoft confabs are still on the docket?
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Is Microsoft nixing its annual Mix event?

When Microsoft replaced its Professional Developers Conference with Build in September of this year, there were some rumblings that Build also might end up replacing Microsoft's annual Mix conference.

At the time, the Softies wouldn't confirm (or deny) that rumor, but it's looking more and more as though it was on the money. I've been asking around, and my contacts are hearing there won't be a Mix 2012 event in the spring in Las Vegas, as there has been for the past six years.

(Not being a Vegas fan, I'm semi-relieved. Though I now fear I will end up making my one self-imposed, yearly Vegas trip anyway, to attend this year's Microsoft Management Summit, instead.)

Microsoft launched Mix in 2006 as its annual Web developer/designer event. It started out as a conference where there were almost as many non-Microsoft speakers on the docket as Microsoft ones. Microsoft used the show to promote new Web design and development products, especially its own Silverlight and Expression.

Given Microsoft's change in strategy around Silverlight, coupled with its possible end-of-lifing after Version 5 (or possibly 5.1, if the rumored servicing release is delivered), it isn't all that surprising that Mix may be no more. Microsoft officials used Build this year as a place to evangelize HTML5, JavaScript and CSS and to (sort of) explain the company's WinRT and XAML ("Jupiter") development strategies.

I've asked Microsoft whether or not there will be a Mix 2012 show, and am awaiting the official response.

Update: The official response, via a spokesperson, is in: "We have nothing definitive to share about MIX at this time."

If there's no Mix next year, which conferences are still on the 2012 docket for those with an interest in Microsoft products and technologies?

Consumer Electronics Show (January 10-13 in Las Vegas): Expect lots of Xbox Live, Kinect and Windows Phone content. Some Microsoft watchers are expecting the Beta of Windows 8 to debut at the show (I am hearing this may happen shortly after CES.) CEO Steve Ballmer keynotes on January 9.

Mobile World Congress (February 27-March 1 in Barcelona): There should be news on the Windows Phone "Tango" front by early 2012 -- and maybe even some early information on "Apollo" (the Windows Phone 8 OS). When will Microsoft talk about its expected move toward replacing the Windows Phone OS core with Win8/MinWin? MWC might be too early, but who knows?

SXSW (March 9-18 in Austin): Usually a big promotional event for the Microsoft Bing team.

Convergence 2012 (March 18-21 in Houston): Microsoft's annual Dynamics CRM and ERP event for customers and partners. Could be the launch pad for news around the next version of Dynamics CRM (on-prem and online) and the first of Microsoft's cloud-enabled ERP offerings.

Microsoft Management Summit 2012 (April 16-20 in Las Vegas): This year's MMS is expected to be the launch pad for the System Center 2012 suite.

E3 (June 5-7 in Los Angeles): Usually a launch pad for new Microsoft games and gaming announcements. TechEd 2012 (June 11-14 in Orlando): Microsoft's combined event for IT pros and developers in North America. Typically focuses on already announced products.

TechEd Europe 2012 (June 25-29 in Amsterdam): After cancelling last year's TechEd Europe, Microsoft is back.

Worldwide Partner Conference 2012 (July 9-13 in Toronto): Microsoft's annual event for its partner network. Expect lots of roadmaps, lots of cloud talk.

Build 2012 (Fall 2012?): Will Microsoft hold a second Build conference, focused on getting more developers writing for Windows 8? I'd expect so, though so far there's no official word.

SharePoint Conference 2012 (November 12-15 in Las Vegas): Seems like a great time to talk about Office 2012 and SharePoint 2012....

This list doesn't include Microsoft-centric in-person and/or Webcast launch events for single products, such as its expected SQL Server 2012 launch in early 2012; the launch of Windows 8 or the launch of Office 2012 (aka Office 15). With that caveat, any other conferences that should be added to my calendar?

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