PDC Cancellation 'Not a Shock'

Microsoft announced the cancellation of its semi-annual Professional Developer's Conference (PDC) last week, leading to lots of Internet speculation on the reason. But conspiracy theorists should take a breath: The reason may well be as mundane as the fact that it just isn't necessary this year.

"I was surprised but not shocked" at the PDC's cancellation, said Billy Hollis, a well-known developer, Microsoft MVP in Visual Basic, and author who has been a PDC speaker in the past. "The last 18 months or so have seen biggest rollout of new technologies at Microsoft maybe in their history -- new versions of Office, the .NET framework, new OSes."

All that work, Hollis said, means Microsoft had no need of the developer show. "There's so much new stuff to absorb, they needed a consolidation period, and PDC doesn't fit in. Seeing all the items they have on their plate, it's not obvious to me they had" to hold the PDC in the fall.

In fact, Hollis said, the PDC cancellation could be seen as a positive consequence of the efficiency of the .NET platform. "It's a testament to the vision of the .NET Framework. Microsoft said [.NET] would speed up development" of new software, and gauging by all the new products coming out of Redmond, Hollis said, it's done just that.

Not everyone saw silver linings, though. One journalist hypothesized that canceling the PDC, originally set for October in Los Angeles, could herald a delay in the release to manufacturing (RTM) of Windows Server 2008, scheduled for later this year. Such a delay could be damaging to Microsoft, given the many delays the OS (formerly code-named "Longhorn Server") has already suffered.

Hollis doesn't buy that theory. "I don't see any correlation between the release of Longhorn Server and the PDC, because Longhorn Server is too far along in the product cycle to have an impact on the PDC."

Besides, Microsoft has never been as rigid with PDC scheduling as with some other conferences, like TechEd. In the past, the PDC has been held at different times of the year, and hasn't always followed a two-year cycle; there have been PDC conferences as close together as 15 months, and more than two years apart.

Hollis said that the developer community generally feels that cancellation of this year's PDC isn't an earth-shaking event.

"We're pretty much OK with it; Microsoft doesn't need to feel any shame at all about not rolling out anything this fall, with everything they've rolled out in the last 18 months."

Besides, Hollis added, with the breakneck pace of development, it would be hard for many in the industry to go.

"Giving up a week [to travel to a conference] is a big deal for us, so everybody respects Microsoft's [decision] and is fine with that."

About the Author

Keith Ward is editor of Virtualization Review magazine. You can contact Keith at [email protected].