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Microsoft's BUILD Conference: A Riddle Wrapped in an Enigma

So Microsoft's BUILD conference is just about a month away. Incredibly, it's been sold out for many weeks now. Fortunately, I have a press pass, so I didn't have to suffer the disappointment many of you undoubtedly did.

I can understand why it's sold out, too. BUILD is, at least for 2011, replacing the Professional Developers Conference and Hardware Engineering Conference. That's two big shows crammed into one. It's also the unveiling of Microsoft's Windows 8 strategy going forward. Big questions need to be answered, like: How much of a hybrid (traditional desktop/laptop and mobile) will it be? Is HTML5/JavaScript the Web platform developers should be learning now? What about Silverlight, for Pete's sake? What about .NET?

In other words, BUILD promises to be huge. It's almost like the developer Super Bowl.

I know you're as excited as I am too to look over the session descriptions, keynotes and pre-conference sessions to dive deep into the technology. I think the session I'm most looking forward to is...Well, let's see. There are no session descriptions, as of Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 9. At least I got to sign up for the pre-conference session on...wait a minute. Word has just come down from the irreplaceable Mary Jo Foley that the pre-conference goodies have been cancelled. Hmm. How about the keynote? It looks fantastic, with the speaker being...Oh. No keynoter listed. No keynote agenda/topics listed.

Yes, so far there's a whole lot of expectations for BUILD, but precious little data. For a show this potentially momentous, it's almost inconceivable that nothing regarding the actual, you know, content, has been published yet. Is Microsoft afraid that listing the agenda will give away state secrets? Is that the same reason the pre-conference sessions are six feet under?

I'm starting to feel like the BUILD conference has a huge, plastic dome over it, like the "Cone of Silence" from the old Get Smart TV show. No news gets out, no hints, no whispers, nothing. Let's just hope that Microsoft's execution is better than Agent 86's.

Posted by Keith Ward on 08/09/2011

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