First Microsoft said that it was pulling out of CES starting January 2013, shelving its keynote speech index cards and locking up the CES-specific trade-show displays. Now the company has declared that MIX will also be axed as a stand-alone conference, starting this year. Instead, the former spring web conference for developers and designers will be merged into the company's next major developer conference which will take place in the coming year.
MIX was conceived in the fall of 2005 as the PDC05 main stage was being disassembled. After reflecting back on PDC over the years, the company determined that it needed to engage with the web community on issues concerning plans for Internet Explorer, web standards and more. MIX06 was launched just four months later in Las Vegas, and has been there every year since. Microsoft said a lot of great things have stemmed from the conference over the last six years, but there have also been "slow and steady trends" that have brought Microsoft to its current decision.
"Firstly, the notion that the 'web community' is somehow separate and distinct from the community of developers we care about no longer makes any sense," said Microsoft's Tim O'Brien, General Manager, Developer & Platform Evangelism, on Tuesday. "Some had even called out the existence of a separate web event as proof that we don’t 'get' the web… it’s a fair point… when we get developers together to talk about what we’re doing in the platform, the web discussion should be part and parcel to everything we talk about."
Microsoft said its decision is also based on feedback from confused developers, and tired reporters, analysts and tech bloggers suffering "event fatigue." The company also said it wants to be more efficient with its engineering teams which must make the time to travel to events and speak with the community. Nuking MIX essentially gives them one less conference to attend.
"If you’ve gone to a Microsoft developer event, you know that a non-trivial percentage of speakers and participants are from engineering," Microsoft explained. "They take time out from shipping to prepare for and travel to these events and connect with developers, and their time is one of the most valuable resources we have in the company. We want to be more efficient with that resource, as the engineering/community interaction is what brings developers to our events."
Looking ahead, Microsoft wants to ensure that global Microsoft developer events are of the same caliber as BUILD 2011 experienced back in September "in addition to the thousands of online and local developer events we host around the world to support communities and connect directly with developers."
Microsoft will reveal more about its next developer event later this year, so stay tuned.