The announcement is now live (the first of many) so I can talk a bit more freely about what I've known for a while about this latest newsworthy account from Microsoft.

In 2013 Microsoft decided to end the Microsoft Management Summit, the go-to event for System Center lovers. The community was up in arms about it, but Microsoft promised a successful and seamless integration into its long-standing IT generalist event, TechEd. To those in the upper echelon of the TechEd management teams, it was a success. But, to those who actually attended TechEd 2014 in Houston, it was a broken promise. Still, many believed this was a first effort, and Microsoft could use subsequent years to do better.

Fast forward to today, Microsoft is once again talking integration. Today the company has announced that they are ending ALL IT related events and rolling them up into a single, massively crowded conference in May 2015 in Chicago. Dubbed the Unified Technology Event for Enterprises (which is an interim name, thank God!), Microsoft will bring together all IT walks-of-life into a marketing extravaganza. And, as a bit of clarification, the only Microsoft-owned events left will be WPC, BUILD, and this new one. All other conferences will be rolled up into this new entity.

In the Channel 9 post, Denise Begley says:

You talked, we listened...

(I'm scratching my head trying to figure out who was actually doing the talking. It wasn’t me, and it definitely wasn’t anyone I know, i.e., anyone who derives value from events like MMS and TechEd.)

There's been some confusion over whether or not there will actually be an event called "TechEd" next year. Some say it's a co-location, others a merge. But, according to a spokesperson that talked with Jeff James at Petri.com...

...(spokesperson) ... confirmed that there will not be an event formally named TechEd 2015 next year, but Microsoft will "...share additional details, including the official event name, in the coming months."

In addition, one spokeperson I talked to said the event is actually called the Unified Microsoft Commercial Technology Event.

Let's hope Microsoft figures it out itself soon.

I'll have more to share on this as the week progresses, but let me leave you with something. As Microsoft continues cutting significant and valuable resources for IT Pros (TechNet subscriptions, TechEd, MMS, others) in an effort to consolidate messaging, it should be getting even clearer for you just how important 3rd party events like IT/Dev Connections really is becoming. IT/Dev Connections is a "right-sized" (to coin a Microsoft layoff term) conference that provides deep technical learning and education. These types of events are becoming more and more important to your career because they focus on you and your job now. For Microsoft to be successful in the IT Pro ranks, the company will need to invest support in these smaller, better targeted events – and that may be happening already. Later this week we'll announce Brad Anderson, Corporate VP of Cloud and Enterprise at Microsoft, as the keynote speaker at IT/Dev Connections 2014.

If you truly want to hear the Microsoft roadmap, I'd highly suggest attending UTEE (is that the new acronym?). I'll be there, for sure.