Microsoft Moves TechEd, WinHEC Shows out of New Orleans

More than 13 months after Hurricane Katrina came ashore, Microsoft confirmed Monday that it is moving three of its annual conferences, including two of its largest shows, out of New Orleans -- at least temporarily.

The reason, a Microsoft spokesperson said, is due primarily to a continued lack of reliable airline service into and out of the Crescent City. "[The shows were moved] because of the logistics of moving that many people in or out of the airport," he said.

Among the shows moved for 2007 are Microsoft's popular TechEd and Windows Hardware Engineering Conferences (WinHEC). The third show that will move for now is Microsoft’s annual gathering of its internal worldwide sales staff , Microsoft Global Experience (MGX).

The city is a popular destination for many tech conferences -- thanks to its spacious Ernest N. Morial convention center, which served as a haven for locals driven out of their homes by the hurricane last year -- as well as to the city's unique polyglot cultural stew that made it a tourism hot spot prior to last year's storm.

TechEd, the company's conference for technology professionals, was held in Boston last spring, drawing 11,000 attendees, the company said at the time. The 2007 conference was scheduled for June 3 through 8 in New Orleans.

WinHEC, for hardware engineers, designers and developers, has normally been held in Seattle in recent years, but was set to be held next May 22 through 24 in New Orleans. WinHEC typically draws around 4,000, the company said.

If not for the logistical issues, however, the shows would still be scheduled there. "They [Microsoft officials] want to get back to New Orleans as soon as the infrastructure allows," the spokesperson said.

Microsoft has not yet announced where the shows will be relocated or whether their dates will change.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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Reader Comments:

Mon, Oct 15, 2007 Nik Potaper New York

Google is my favorite search engine!

Fri, Oct 27, 2006 Anonymous Portland

Bourbon Street and the Dome are open, but with a couple of hundred thousand residents still gone, N'Orleans previously spotty service will be severely tested by 30,000 realtors. Best of luck to them and congrats to MS for exercising some common sense.

Thu, Oct 19, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

Boise Idaho, Billings Montana, Knoxvill Tennessee, or Tulsa Oklahoma, all sound like good choices to me

Thu, Oct 19, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

Or Maybe Pittsburgh!!! Pittsburg is alway fun

Thu, Oct 19, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

How bout Bermingham AL

Thu, Oct 19, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

If things do not go as planned, then everybody complains to MS that it was their fault. It is best moved to a place where there are no logistical problems, anybody remember the bus strike in Boston last year. My vote is Orlando or Chicago!

Wed, Oct 18, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

City by The Bay of course! Two major airports (three if you count San Jose), plenty of hotel accomodations, great weather, shopping, sight-seeing, FOOD, etc., etc.

Tue, Oct 17, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

Buffalo NY with side trips to Niagara Falls and it's casinos on both sides of the border.

Mon, Oct 16, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

Phoenix, AZ

Mon, Oct 16, 2006 Mike Hawaii

What are you guys talking about? If you have to choose a backup city, why not Honolulu? I'll bet the attendance will go up if you do.

Mon, Oct 16, 2006 Annoymous Atlanta

I think that having it in New Orleans would have been a mistake. The airport is not convenient at all to get in and out of. Other thing is the local goverment there. It is the most corrupted of any local goverment on the face of the planet. Any goverment whereas they cannot implement their own evacuation plan (which was in fact in place) cannot be trusted. Remember the 1,000 buses that sat idle..

Mon, Oct 16, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

NO sucks

Mon, Oct 16, 2006 Anonymous Kentucky

I lived and worked in NO years ago and have visited recently. Sadly, it will be years before that city recovers, if ever. And I have family members planning to leave over several issues and the mayor is just one of them.

Mon, Oct 16, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

It’s pretty ridiculous for people who don’t even live in New Orleans to get negatively involved with the city’s local politics and be willing not to support the local economy. As far as the comment on crime, not that it’s good for the 3 people who were mugged, but if that is the worst statistics out of a crowd of 12,000 then by any large cities standards that’s pretty good. I braved the city at 2-3AM on foot and did not experience any problems.

Mon, Oct 16, 2006 Alan Reno

Microsoft is welcome to come to Reno, NV!

Mon, Oct 16, 2006 Anonymous Texas

NO is about the worst choice. It's always dirty and a few years ago, when tech-ed was hosted there, 3 different guys got mugged just leaving the convention center. Nobody felt safe even walking around, especially if you had your laptop. Sad but honest: Crime, thugs, & sleeze just flourish around the french quarter slum area. Still the highest crime rate in the nation...

Mon, Oct 16, 2006 Tom Philo Portland, Oregon

Tech-Ed is a BIG deal in the Big Easy. By moving out over 9 months before schedule it shows: 1) No faith at all in the city to get anything done
2) That they could not contract with enough seaplanes to just land the people on the river next to the convention center and bypass the airport
3) did not donate enough copies of MS Project to New Orleans so they have could learn to plan instead of just complain
4) Instead of getting it done they plan do death (umm, maybe they did give Project to them)
5) During WW II a single engineer group built a complete runway on Malta in 72 hours that then operated 500 flights a day - yet in 2006 they cannot figure out how to land 500 flights on a "modern" airport?

Mon, Oct 16, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

The city of New Orleans has been a wonderful host to MS tech events in the past. They may not be back to where they once were yet, which is all the more reason to give them our support, in there time of need. Hosting 10,000-15,000 people would be a huge boost to the local economy. The attendees may be inconvenienced some, but for me it would be worth it. Would also like to see MS take a portion of the conference proceeds and write the city of New Orleans a big fat check!

Mon, Oct 16, 2006 Elvis Anonymous


Mon, Oct 16, 2006 Dick PA

So Dr. Ludwig, You sound like an expert on dependence on the government for cradle to grave. People and local governments MUST support themselves First. The Federal Government response was excellent and worked great in all other areas devastated by Katrina. Look at Mississippi. Go fly a kite and keep out of America's Business. You don't help so don't hinder.

Mon, Oct 16, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

I was planning to bypass the event because it was to be in New Orleans. First, the local government, which should have primary responsibility for disasters with the feds as backup, failed miserably during the disaster, yet they put the same incompetent leader back in charge. Second, after the entire country poured out their hearts, providing money, goods, homes and a massive number of labor hours, Nagin shows no appreciation and states that NO will be a “chocolate city”. Very inclusive. Finally, if you expect a huge lumbering federal bureaucracy to suddenly be quick and nimble when faced with one of the largest national disasters ever then you must be delusional.

Mon, Oct 16, 2006 Jim PA

New Orleans is one of the most depressing cities I can think of. Anywhere else would be an improvement. Seattle? San Diego?

Mon, Oct 16, 2006 Mr. Magic Anonymous

So Dr Ludwig, how many checks did you and your European buddies write for hurricane relief? Bad manners? Read about the Marshall plan that rebuilt Europe after a certain Austrian national started WWII. Make the checks out to Hurricane Katrina Relief and then tell me about manners.

Mon, Oct 16, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

My vote is San Diego!

Mon, Oct 16, 2006 Aaron Minneapolis


Mon, Oct 16, 2006 Jim PA

I am glad that it is no longer in NO. The city is a fishbowl. Who in their right mind would build a city below sea level right by the sea? It saddens me to say it but it doesn't matter what type of walls you build, nature will always win over man.

Mon, Oct 16, 2006 Bryan Indiana

Denver or Seattle sounds good.

Mon, Oct 16, 2006 Topshelf Dallas Texas

I vote for Dallas Texas or Orlando Florida. Chicago not a good choice in my opinon.

Mon, Oct 16, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

Las Vegas, baby!!!!!

Sun, Oct 15, 2006 Rex Young


Sun, Oct 15, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

I'm not from Texas or anywhere close to Texas but Houston is a nice place. Huge convention center, two good-sized airports, lots to see and do in the area.

Sun, Oct 15, 2006 steve nc

Vegas baby! or Toronto.

Sun, Oct 15, 2006 wayne Minnesota rural

Another George Bush fiasco. I agree that NO was not the greatest attraction for me, but MS could do more to correct the situation.

Sat, Oct 14, 2006 Jack Schmidt Batavia

I vote for the Chicago area.

Sat, Oct 14, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

Dr Ludwig is in total error. The US government did not destroy New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina did.

Sat, Oct 14, 2006 Anonymous formerly New Orleans

About time MS got the picture: corruption, incompetence and a disdain for IT in the local economy. Even aftyer Katrina, in N.O it is still who you know not what you know.

Let em have the Realtors, they'll be like travel agents in a few years because of IT. MS should say goodbye to the "Big Easy" forever and invest in an area that truly supports the products and sevices they provide.

Sat, Oct 14, 2006 Anonymous Dallas

how about philly ( that town need a katrina to happen to it )

Sat, Oct 14, 2006 Ken Sacramento

Sad, the area needs more tourism. However, I'm good with Texas. That show rocked!

Sat, Oct 14, 2006 Matt University Park

No thanks on orlando! too damn hot and humid in june! I'm all for vegas! hot and dry.

Sat, Oct 14, 2006 kevin baltmore

if 30,000 realtors can have a conference there so can MS. Sounds like an excuse. Shame on MS.

Sat, Oct 14, 2006 Gill S'Pore

San . F please.

Sat, Oct 14, 2006 kevin baltmore

if 30,000 realtors can have a conference there so can MS. Sounds like an excuse. Shame on MS.

Sat, Oct 14, 2006 kevin baltmore

if 30,000 realtors can have a conference there so can MS. Sounds like an excuse. Shame on MS.

Sat, Oct 14, 2006 DP Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas - of course!!

Sat, Oct 14, 2006 Anonymous Ohio

no to NO! That place was always a dirty trash ridden city and nothing has changed.

Sat, Oct 14, 2006 Neil Clinch St. Louis

How about Downtown St. Louis... We have a newly expaneded Airport, commuter trains from the airport to downtown. Great atmosphere, Large convention Center... And soon to be World Champion Cardinals!

Sat, Oct 14, 2006 Anonymous Missouri

I vote for Dallas

Sat, Oct 14, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

Let's give Texas some love!

Sat, Oct 14, 2006 Sam Covington, LA

Microsoft's excuse is BS. National Assoc of Realtors is hosting their annual meeting of 30,000 in NOLA in Nov 2006. Airport reports 80% of pre-Katrina traffic. Shame on Microsoft for abandoning NOLA when they need visitors the most!

Sat, Oct 14, 2006 Mark London

I would be suprised to see Florida as Florida is the venue for 2008, but I would strongly tip Atlanta.

Fri, Oct 13, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

Dr Ludwig has a point, but I don't think it was only a US Gov initial issue, but more localized. NO is a great town, but if they don't have airline support; ya gotta move it. The windy city sounds good!

Fri, Oct 13, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

Chicago, big time. Lots to see and do in the limited free time.

Fri, Oct 13, 2006 elusiveyes Anonymous

Agree with it being held in Chicago, but San Diego is my second choice...

Fri, Oct 13, 2006 Dr.Ludwig KRYSL Vienna, AUSTRIA

It's really bad manners to flee the City of N.O. instead of helping them reconstruct the infrastructure Katrina and the neglecting U.S. government destroyed. Shame on MS!

Fri, Oct 13, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

San Diego!!!!

Fri, Oct 13, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

Las Vegas!!!

Fri, Oct 13, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

How about Baton Rouge ? Many of the New Orleans Elites have moved there.

Fri, Oct 13, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

Would like to see the current mayor replaced with someone with a level head... This guy is a nut and doesn't deserve MS (and our) money...

Fri, Oct 13, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

Orlando works really well.

Fri, Oct 13, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

So long New Orleans! How about Chicago?!!!

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