Microsoft To Tout Office-As-Platform At New Developers Confab

Microsoft hopes its first Office System developers conference, early next year, will build street-cred for its Office-as-platform strategy.
Microsoft will continue its push to legitimize Office as an application development platform by giving it a developers' conference of its own.

The first-ever Microsoft Office System Developer Conference has been inked in for February 2 through 4 at Microsoft's Conference Center in Redmond, Wash., the company said Monday.

Expected attendees include about 1,000 professional developers and architects from ISVs, system integrators and large enterprises, according to a statement e-mailed to reporters.

Microsoft's statement described the event as "another indication that Microsoft's partners and customers are increasingly viewing the Microsoft Office System ... as a platform on which to build customized solutions that address very specific customer needs."

That has certainly been the message since the October 2003 launch of Office 2003, when Microsoft worked mightily to expand the popular Office brand to include a bevy of applications -- both server and desktop -- above and beyond the traditional Word, Excel and PowerPoint applications.

The "Office System" or "iWave" lineup thus includes SharePoint Portal Server, Exchange Server, Content Management Server and other offerings outside the productivity suite. But Office 2003 sales have not set the world on fire.

To date, that effort has, by most third-party accounts, met with mixed success. Microsoft still has problems convincing third-party ISVs that it will not eat their lunch, as it keeps expanding its applications into new areas.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is slated to address the Office development gathering on Friday, Feb. 4, "signifying the importance of the event for Microsoft," according to the e-mail.

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