Microsoft Reshuffles Conference Calendar for 2016

Next year's event schedule looks a little different as the company pushes back and relocates its Ignite conference for IT pros.


Microsoft's inaugural Ignite conference took place May 4-8 this year in Chicago, just days after concluding Build 2015 in San Francisco. For 2016, the company is offering each a little more breathing room.

"As we look ahead to 2016, we're gearing up for our Microsoft top tier conference lineup," said Microsoft's Chris Capossela, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, in an Oct. 14 announcement. "Over the years of running these events, we've continued to listen to your feedback and use it to refine our approach. To that end, we have made the decision to shift Microsoft Ignite from spring to fall."

Announced around the same time last year, Ignite set the stage for a streamlined conference schedule from the software giant. Ignite essentially consolidated six events—Microsoft Management Summit, Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Project and TechEd—into a single five-day conference. "For the first time ever, we're putting under one roof the education, vision and guidance for the full spectrum of our enterprise solutions," said Frank X. Shaw, corporate vice president of communications at Microsoft, in a statement at the time.

At this year's event, Microsoft made several announcements, including the first public preview of Office 2016 with new data loss prevention (DLS) and information rights management features that enable businesses to protect sensitive information as their Office content wends its way through different device types and cloud services. Microsoft also debuted Azure Stack, a core set of cloud services inspired by the company's own massive Azure cloud computing platform, but adapted for the private and hybrid cloud deployments at customer data centers.

For next year's Ignite conference, Microsoft is trading the Windy City for Atlanta, and May for Sept. 26-30, according to Capossela. The other three tentpole events are the Build developer conference in San Francisco sometime in the spring, Convergence on April 4-17 in New Orleans and the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) on July 10-14 in Toronto. "Each of these events provides our communities the opportunity to learn, engage and network with peers as we share our vision, reveal new technologies and dive deep in smaller group sessions."

Under the new plan, Microsoft appears to have settled into a comfortable and manageable rhythm, revealed Capossela. "We'll be relatively consistent with the timing of these events going forward so you can plan around them. Each year the exact dates will vary, while remaining within the similar time period," he continued.

Microsoft still plans to maintain a full slate of local events that are somewhat more intimate in scale. "Of course technology doesn't wait a year so we offer a range of smaller targeted events as well around the world," said Capossela. Upcoming events include Convergence EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) in Barcelona, Spain, Nov. 30-Dec. 2 and a 12-city series of Microsoft Cloud Roadshows, which kicks off in Dallas on Nov. 2.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...