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IT pros head to TechEd seeking details about Microsoft enterprise upgrades

Juan Carlos Perez | June 11, 2012
Tim Vander Kooi has gone to Microsoft's TechEd North America many times since the late 1990s, but he's never been as enthused as he is this year about attending the conference, the company's most important event for IT professionals and developers.

"I hope there will be group policy settings we can use to make things look the way we want them to look and work best for us, rather than having that whole Metro thing shoved down our throats," he said.

Windows 8, which is in its final development phase and expected to be commercially available before the end of the year, will most likely be talked about at length at TechEd, as Microsoft continues to promote it among enterprises. Aside from the new Metro UI, Windows 8 has a significant number of new and improved enterprise IT features, Microsoft has said.

However, many industry analysts are skeptical about enterprise adoption of Windows 8, since many organizations have recently migrated, or are in the process of migrating, to Windows 7.

"Once Windows 8 is released, Microsoft can begin to have conversations with enterprise customers," said Al Gillen, an IDC analyst. "You'll see it utilized initially by customers who have an immediate need for tablet devices. As far as traditional desktops and laptops, I don't think most organizations are going to rush into Windows 8. We'll see some deployments, but those will be fairly light."

Microsoft declined to say how many people are expected to attend the conference, but the total has exceeded 10,000 in previous years. For example, about 10,500 customers, partners and Microsoft employees attended the 2010 edition of the show in New Orleans. In addition to its main edition in the U.S., TechEd is also held in other parts of the world.

But right now, the focus is on TechEd North America 2012. "There's so much going on. I think this is going to be the best TechEd ever," Vander Kooi said.


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