LOS ANGELES—The 2,700 attendees at Microsofts annual Windows Hardware Engineering Conference here are going to get an earful about Windows Vista, the upcoming Windows Server "Longhorn" and Windows Home Server—and thats just from the keynote addresses.
"There are three big themes for this conference, the first of which is the industry impact of the Windows platform," Kevin Kutz, a director in Microsofts Windows client group, told eWEEK in an interview ahead of the WinHEC conference.
"We really want to demonstrate and underscore how important Windows remains as a platform for innovation, and we will try and showcase that as much as possible," he said.
The second theme is all about the first 100 days of Windows Vista and an update on market momentum, as well as an opportunity to demonstrate the things that partners have attached themselves to and used to create new and innovative products, he said.
The third theme will cover partner opportunities and innovation flashpoints around the big trends such as mobility, communications and networking, Kutz said.
The conference kicks off May 15 with an opening keynote by Chairman Bill Gates, who will talk about the sales momentum in the first 100 days since Vista shipped.
Gates will also talk about what Windows has done to inspire quality advances in system design innovation, including how Vista did in the first 100 days of availability to May 10, how market momentum is looking, and what partners are already doing that suggests the innovation potential within the Windows platform, Kutz said.
"Gates will also look forward to Windows Server Longhorn and Windows Home Server and what opportunities there are for hardware engineers and partners in that space," he said.
He will be followed by Craig Mundie, Microsofts chief research and strategy officer and one of the two men who are replacing Gates as he transitions to his foundation full time. The other is Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie.
Mundie will talk about the future and the innovations that are coming over the next five to 10 years, looking at what Microsoft and its hardware partners need to do to get to that place, Kutz said.
Mike Nash, the new corporate vice president for Windows product management, will open Day Two (May 16) with a keynote that drills down in greater depth into the theme of 100 days of Vista that Gates will touch on. He will talk about market momentum, what people can expect going forward and different partner innovations.
He will be followed by Bill Laing, general manager for Windows Server, whose technical keynote will discuss new technologies and initiatives for Windows Server, including enterprise storage, enterprise networking, server roles and server features such as high availability, Kutz said.
The third speaker of the day will be Mark Russinovich, a technical fellow in Microsofts platform and services division, who will examine the new features and enhancements in Windows Server "Longhorn."
He will outline some of the changes that have been made to the Windows kernel and other key areas, and how partners can take advantage of these, Kutz said.
In addition to the keynote addresses, there will be many sessions on the above products and the hardware innovation that is going on to take advantage of them. As the conference is designed for engineers, there will also be deeply technical sessions, discussions and labs to meet their needs, he said.
"This is a unique time for Microsoft at WinHEC given where we are in the product cycle. Windows Vista has already shipped, and now we have Windows Server Longhorn to look forward to. For us to be between major platform releases like this is interesting," Kutz said.