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Is there any reason to go to a Microsoft developer event?

There are three, huge upcoming developer events: Apple’s WWDC, Google’s I/O developer gathering, and Microsoft’s TechEd. If you could only go to one event, which one would you pick?

I think the winner, for most developers, would be….drumroll….WWDC. Second place would be Google’s I/O. And in third–more appropriately last place–I’d say TechEd.

Unless you’ve already signed up for WWDC though, don’t pack your bags for it. For the first time ever WWDC has sold out. Yep, sounds like a bunch of other developers are thinking the same thing.

Google’s I/O sounds like an attractive alternative–in large part because it’s in it its early stages. That’s a great time to expand your network–by attending the foundation years of a growing event. Is there any doubt that as Google expands more and more into our lives that a Google developer event won’t become the event of the year?

And then there’s Microsoft’s TechEd two week event. What can I say? I’m not an IT guy so the IT tracks are not for me. And the developer week of the event, is so…well, IT minded with its certification sessions and all. I guess if I was working at some mega-corp on an Intranet system that was built around Microsoft technologies, I’d be game. But I’m not.

And maybe, even if I were, I’d ask: “Is there any reason to go to a Microsoft event?”

Now don’t get me wrong, I’d really like to talk with the Silverlight team about some things as well as the WPF team, or WCF for that matter (what ARE they thinking???), or even Office Tools team, yeah…I have sooo many questions, thoughts, suggestions. It’s just that I keep asking myself if investing $2000 in TechEd is where I want to be placing my bets. It’s a tough call. And that’s why TechEd is in third place in my book.

Now here’s the funny part: As a developer interested in Tablet PCs, in pushing the state of the art in user interfaces, with a passion for Robotics, with an addiction to tracking online news and community conversations , and on and on, you’d think that there’s so much alignment between my interests and Microsoft’s that there’d be something at a Microsoft event like TechEd that would drive me to attend. Again, not for $2000 there isn’t.

Don’t feel sorry for those putting on TechEd though. I bet there will be lots of attendees. There are lots of people using Microsoft technologies. So it makes sense that at a Microsoft-sponsored event there will be a lot people attending. There are a lot of people’s who’s salaries and businesses are built around Microsoft tech. It’s just for me, there’s no excitement for me around TechEd this year. Hopefully PDC will not fall into the same boat.

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