Microsoft Unveils New Super Bowl-Like Event For Enterprise Tech

Microsoft plans to hold a conference next May that rolls up several of its existing events into one big one.

Microsoft's Ignite conference, set for a May 4-8 run next year in Chicago, replaces the software giant's TechEd, SharePoint, Exchange, Lync, Project and Management Summit conferences. The news was revealed by Frank Shaw, Microsoft's corporate vice president of communications, in a blog post Thursday.

At Ignite, Microsoft will show off coming products and services in cloud infrastructure and management, big data and analytics, productivity, unified communications, operating systems and mobile devices, Shaw said in the blog.

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Instead of having separate events focused on specific Microsoft products and user communities, Ignite will be a place where Microsoft will talk about everything it's doing in enterprise technology.

"For the first time ever, we're putting under one roof the education, vision and guidance for the full spectrum of our enterprise solutions," Shaw said in the blog post.

Microsoft will have its top business and technical leaders on hand at Ignite, and it doesn't sound as if they'll be hiding in the shadows after their speeches.

Microsoft is "making it a priority to give attendees direct access to hundreds of Microsoft engineers and executives," Shaw said. "Our top gearheads and thought leaders will be there in force, ready to step down from the podium and get into the weeds with you."

Ignite seems to parallel the format Microsoft uses for its annual Worldwide Partner Conference, where attendees get all the partner messaging for the coming year, Ric Opal, vice president at Peters & Associates, a Microsoft partner in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., told CRN.