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Microsoft's New Ignite Mega Conference Sold Out with 20,000 Attendees

If you were on the fence about attending next month's brand new Ignite conference, designed to bring together the former Tech-Ed, SharePoint Conference and other events into one mega show, you're too late. Microsoft says Ignite, slated for May 4-7 at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, is sold out.

According to the Web site Microsoft set up for Ignite, full conference passes are no longer available. But if you're just interested in attending the expo you can still get into that. A spokeswoman for Microsoft said that 20,000 attendees have registered for the inaugural Ignite conference. Ignite is targeted at enterprise IT pros and is expected to be the site where top executives outline the future of key products including Windows Server, System Center, Hyper-V, SharePoint Server and others.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is slated to kick off Ignite Monday May 4 with the opening keynote. Though it's a rebranded and expanded iteration of TechEd, many MVPs have raised concerns over the way Microsoft has organized sessions for the event. Among them is Redmond magazine Windows Insider columnist and Pluralsight author Greg Shield, who made no bones about his take on the event, saying in last month's column that "the company's next big event may be all flash and no substance."

Describing Ignite as the equivalent of a whitewashed corporate white paper, Shields pointed out, with help from his Pluralsight partner Don Jones, that instead of allowing people to propose outline for a session, Microsoft was looking for MVPs to nominate themselves and offer up three broad topics. "I'd been wondering why the newly rebranded Ignite removed the Ed in TechEd," Shields noted in his column. "Now, I think I know why. A tightly controlled and on-message event is a brilliant spectacle, but at the same time disingenuous. Select groups of trusted speakers make for a perfectly executed storyline, but at the cost of introducing new souls and their thoughts into the process."

While longtime TechEd speakers Jones and Shields won't be speaking at Ignite, they're not boycotting the show either. And apparently neither are 20,000 others.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 04/01/2015 at 11:49 AM


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