Microsoft announced its 2016 events lineup today, notably moving its Ignite event for IT pros away from Chicago.
Ignite instead will be held in Atlanta from Sept. 26 to Sept. 30 this year, with a shift from last year's spring timing. The events lineup was described today in this Microsoft announcement, which also showed schedules for Build, Microsoft's developer event, plus its partner events Convergence and WPC:
Ignite's move away from Chicago was noted today by a Chicago Tribune news story. It explained that Microsoft had wanted Ignite to be held later in Chicago. However, the McCormick Place convention facilities were all booked up.
Microsoft's big annual events won't necessarily follow the same schedule each year, according to Chris Capossela, Microsoft's executive vice president and chief marketing officer.
"Each year the exact dates will vary, while remaining within the similar time period," Capossela explained, in the announcement.
Microsoft is planning some other events throughout the year. For instance it will have ongoing Cloud Roadshows. It's also planning to host Convergence EMEA, its Dynamics event for partners, on Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 in Barcelona, Spain.
Microsoft's Ignite venue switch from Chicago drew some speculation. Microsoft MVP Vlad Catrinescu took the switch at face value, suggesting that perhaps Microsoft needed more time to mature its products and therefore moved Ignite to a later date. Possibly, it needed more time to get its event logistics in order. However, he added another possible reason: attendee complaints, particularly about the food and facilities.
On those latter two areas, Ignite 2015 seemed to inspire horror stories from the field, particularly from Microsoft's Most Valuable Professionals. Perhaps the most comprehensive account came from Microsoft MVP Don Jones. He described Ignite in Chicago as "broken." He cited "miserable" food and bad crowd control. Event transportation was too far from hotels and local attractions. Event staff were said to have yelled at the attendees to get into food lines.
Jones' account echoed those of other Ignite 2015 attendees. It's possible that Microsoft changed Ignite 2016's location, in part, because of such complaints. Last year, Ignite sold out with about 20,000 attendees.