Evaluation Form: Microsoft’s MIX 2008 reviewed

Event: MIX 08 – March 5–7, 2008, Las Vegas

What were the key messages at this conference?

Key messages at MIX 08 centred on interoperability and open standards in the Web sphere, amid a broader strategy to reshape products and services to businesses and developers in light of the influence of the Internet. The announcement of the release of beta versions for Internet Explorer 8, Silverlight 2.0, and Expression Studio 2.0 illustrated that.

How was the quality of sessions?

One first-time attendee felt the sessions tried to please too broad an audience, and resulted in technical sessions often mixed with an unwanted business focus. Another first-time attendee was pleased the technical content complemented the level of expertise held by the event’s target audience. And yet another desired more targeted industry-specific tracks. Space appeared to be an issue for the more popular event sessions, which meant that some attendees were turned away. However, organizers attempted to counter that by repeating the five most sought-after sessions.

How would you rate the quality of the event overall?

Microsoft’s focus to re-conceptualize its products and services on the Web isn’t exactly novel. But the Web is an area in which Microsoft is seen as a late entrant. The event overall was “extremely well-organized… and smooth,” said one attendee, who in particular appreciated the “classy” feeding arrangement in lieu of the usual boxed lunches. Other amenities like the Sandbox provided an interactive attendee playground featuring demos, and hands-on labs equipped with software like Silverlight and Expression. It also housed Open Spaces, an initiative for attendees to organize meetings by posting a topic of discussion on a general timetable. Open Spaces appeared to be well received, judging from the occupied hubs, and was likely popular given the attendee-managed focus, and the fact that it offered a great networking opportunity.

How would you rate the conference entertainment experience?

Work aside, those looking for a break could relax at the Massage Bar, or strum electric guitars — or watch others do it — at the RockBand video game stage. The site of the event party, the classy Tao Nightclub, offered the choice of multiple floors, including a surprisingly chilly pavilion-style rooftop where heating lamps were the evening’s hot commodity.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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