MEC and Tech-Ed: Members sound off

Dana L. McCurley

There will be no MEC 2003. Next year, the longstanding Microsoft Exchange Conference (This year, the "E" was changed to enterprise.) will be combined with Microsoft's Tech-Ed developer show, which is taking place in Dallas, June 1-6. We recently

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asked for opinions on the merger. Here's what our most vocal members had to say.

Admins in a developer's world
submitted by Larry Sprague

I have been going to MEC for three years. I believe it is vital to Exchange and SharePoint Portal administrators, who are not developers and who are jacks-of-all-trades because of the small to medium business units they administer, to have this as a standalone event. By merging this and Tech-Ed, Exchange and SharePoint administrators will get lost in the developers' world. They cannot do justice to MEC customers by adding a day to Tech-Ed.

I really believe this is a big mistake and hope Microsoft reconsiders.

Déjà vu and a bit of history
submitted by Pat Phelan, expert for

This is purely an observation, but this is NOT the first time that MEC and Tech-Ed have run together in Dallas. About four or five years ago, the two were run as separate, back-to-back shows in that city. They shared the same venue(s), hotels, etc., in about a nine-day geek-fest.

I think that MEC took place first, then Tech-Ed. They were clearly billed as two different events running in sequence, but the overall feeling was that of one event.

I realize that your comments were directed toward the actual merging of the events. I just wanted to point out that some of us will have feelings of déjà vu in spite of that!

MEC is about more than Exchange
submitted by Greg Schuchard

Having just returned from MEC 2002, I see no reason NOT to combine MEC with Tech-Ed. I attend MEC because it was supposed to be the "Microsoft Exchange Conference." However, with sessions presented on everything from the sales of .NET to SMS and Project 2002, this conference has become more than just Exchange.

As an Exchange user however, I do think that there needs to be an Exchange user conference of some sort. I am not going to go to Tech-MEC and have to contend with 10,000 others whose focus is development.

Too much material
submitted by Jonathan Beeler, Messaging Systems Analyst

I personally like the Exchange portion separate. There is so much material in just the Exchange conference -- I can't imagine combining them together. Most of the Exchange attendees are administrative types, not developers. This, to me, is reason enough to have them separate. I'm sure the developers have enough content to have a dedicated conference for themselves.

Also, over 5000 people attended MEC. That's pretty impressive by itself.

Too many sessions
submitted by Bob Taylor, Product Architect

The problem with this year's MEC was the lack of anything new from Microsoft. The Titanium release has been delayed. (I assume it would have been announced here.) Microsoft has not held a PDC this year and I think they should have also delayed MEC until the spring.

Because of the lack of anything new, I recommended that my company should stay away this year. We normally send up to half-a-dozen people to both the US and European MECs. The other problem with MEC is that Exchange is being subsumed by other technologies. The transport is now part of IIS and Instant Messaging is part of the RTC Server. Also, BizTalk is taking over collaboration and workflow and finally the store is going to be replaced by SQL (aka Yukon). So what's left?

The problem with adding onto Tech-Ed is that it's going to make life hard for attendees. I have a hard time now choosing what sessions I'm going to attend. With more choices, it's going to be even harder. More focused, shorter conferences are probably better, but probably also more costly to put together.

MEC will get lost
submitted by Mark Turner

I don't like the change to merge the conferences. MEC has specialized mainly in Exchange. Now it will get lost in a long, bloated conference with too many people.

To voice your opinion about the merger of the two conferences or about members' comments, send an e-mail to our editor.

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