Microsoft Readies Redmond for Most Valuable Pros Summit

Executives will announce major changes to how Microsoft incorporates customer feedback into its product life cycles at the company's annual professional users conference.

Microsoft Corp. next week will host about 1,500 of its Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) at its Redmond campus, where the software titan plans to announce big changes to how it incorporates their feedback into its product life cycles.

The 1,500 attending this years summit hail from 65 countries across the globe and comprise more than half of Microsofts current 2,600 global MVPs. It is also double the 750-odd MVPs who showed up for last years summit.

Attendees will be treated to an executive session in Seattle on Tuesday, where they will hear from key executives including CEO Steve Ballmer; Jim Allchin, the group vice president for platforms; and Eric Rudder, the senior vice president for servers and tools.

/zimages/1/28571.gifBill Gates talked to eWEEK about his recent "Think Week," a time when he examines technology and its implications. Click here to read what Gates is thinking.

Attendees also will get to choose from more than 200 technical drill-down sessions at the Redmond campus Monday and Wednesday, which will span more than 70 Microsoft technologies and range from large group meetings to one-on-one, specific technology meetings between individual MVPs and Microsoft engineers and technologists.

Microsofts MVP Program, which is in its 11th year, essentially recognizes individuals with expertise in one or more Microsoft products for their active participation and efforts to help Microsoft customers in online communities.

The theme for this years summit is "Inspired communities inspiring people" and is Microsofts way of acknowledging that community for its deep technical expertise, knowledge, feedback and voice in its product-development life cycle, Sean ODriscoll, the director of Microsofts MVP and Technical Communities in Redmond, Wash., told eWEEK in an interview Friday.

"One of the single biggest opportunities for improvement for us is how we continue to make progress on connecting feedback from communities, and specifically from our MVPs, deeply into our product development life cycle."

"And so we will be making announcements next week around some steps in that direction that we think are an important way of moving that initiative forward. One of the biggest themes of this MVP Summit is driving bidirectional connections and creating conversations between Microsoft and its community," he said.

Next Page: Agenda includes Office 12, Longhorn and more.