MEC Will Return in 2014

GFI272 MECExchange followers found a tantalizing morsel in their inbox last week. “Save the date. MEC is coming. April 2014. See, we told you it wouldn’t be another 10 years!”

Yes, flushed with the success of “The Lost Conference” last year in Orlando, Microsoft is planning a reprise, although a few details have yet to be worked out. For starters, when and where the conference will be held.

Details or no, Microsoft apparently wants to keep the pot of enthusiasm generated from MEC 2012 percolating. The conference drew generally good notices from attendees, like Michael Van Horenbeeck.

“To be honest, MEC 2012 was epic — at least it was to me,” he wrote in a blog recently. “People should have good reasons to be excited about the upcoming MEC.”

News of the announcement spread quickly with the help of social media, as did speculation about all aspects of the event.

The timing of the gala sparked the curiosity of many Exchange users. Why 19 months between get-togethers? Why not 12 months? Regardless of why Microsoft chose the odd hiatus period between the shows, it’s still better than the 10 years between the last two MECs.

With the MEC 2014 announcement, it appears that Microsoft is working Exchange into its single app conference lineup with its Lync and SharePoint forums. If that’s the case, then one has to wonder about the future of all purpose conferences like TechEd. That conference is held annually in June so it would be on the heels of MEC 2014.

Other Exchange followers point out that the 19 month period is consistent with Microsoft’s new revamped product cadence.

That cadence has been amped up to accommodate Microsoft’s new attitude toward software. It’s trying to get away from allowing users to buy a perpetual license to a particular version ofa  software package and moving toward the software as a service model.

That model has some advantages for users over prior licensing schemes. Software is updated in a more timely matter because  Microsoft, not the user, updates it.

Innovation can be more quickly transferred to a program because Microsoft won’t have to wait until a new release or service pack is ready to bring the innovation to market. By the same token, if an innovation breaks something, it can be fixed more rapidly, too.

However, the advantages to Microsoft can’t be denied. Instead of paying a one-time fee for a software package, the user is stuck with a subscription model that sucks money from them on a monthly or annual basis.

No longer can a user pace the adoption of a software product. Maybe Exchange 2007 is perfectly fine for current operations. With the new software model, you’re going to Exchange 2013 whether you want to or not.

You can also forget “second version syndrome.” A common strategy in IT departments is to skip a version of a program, as many shops did with Vista. Needless to say, that costs Microsoft lots of money in development and support costs — costs Redmond would like to reduce.

Finally, with the emergence of the cloud, Microsoft has been forced to develop separate code for on-premise and cloud deployments. That’s a cost competitors like Google don’t have to put up with and Microsoft doesn’t want to put up with them either.

Microsoft’s new software business model alone should provide plenty of fodder for discussion when the next MEC convenes whenever and wherever it does in 2014.

Written by John P Mello Jr

John Mello is a freelance writer who has written about business and technical subjects for more than 25 years. He is frequent contributor to the ECT News Network and his work has appeared in a number of periodicals, including Byte magazine, PC World, Computerworld, CIO magazine and the Boston Globe

1 Comment

  1. Espie · May 2, 2013

    This is exciting news, regardless of how big the gap is from the last MEC. I’m already thinking of things that can possibly happen; what will be unveiled, what will be improved and what will be introduced. Some are saying that MEC 2014 will disclose a couple of new things about Exchange 2013 and a possible new Exchange “version”. This is interesting; but I think it will do Microsoft a lot of good if they focus on more exciting things for Exchange 2013. A lot of people are yet to get the best out of their 2013 experience, me included.

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