I'm in Los Angeles this week for Microsoft's annual Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC), which isn't usually as boring as it sounds: For the past several years, for example, Microsoft has used the show to divulge information about its then-upcoming OS, Windows Vista. But although this year's show promises to continue its focus on taking advantage of upcoming hardware trends, I'm getting a vibe from Microsoft that WinHEC 2007 won't be a big deal for anyone hoping for lots of information about upcoming Windows releases.

Instead, Microsoft seems intent on countering what it sees as unfair bad press about the recently released Vista. The company will provide information about Vista's successes in its first 100 days of availability and attempt to prove the naysayers wrong. Expect some information along these lines in the show's first two keynotes today, from Chairman Bill Gates and Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie. (The now-retired Jim Allchin had historically keynoted WinHEC.)

 

Although this strategy is sure to disappoint Windows watchers, including myself, it makes sense: By keeping the buzz on Vista at this early point, the company doesn't have to risk having a future release steal the spotlight. Microsoft will also discuss Windows Server 2008 (code-named Longhorn Server), its recently detuned Windows Server Virtualization technology (code-named Viridian), and Windows Home Server at the show. I'll have more reports from Los Angeles throughout the week.