Thursday, December 18, 2008

Another sign of the times: Novell cancels BrainShare 2009

Novell's BrainShare conference has been an industry tradition for 20 years, but it won't happen in 2009. Novell announced yesterday that next year's conference has been canceled due to a significant drop in customer registrations and comments from said customers that they're cutting back on travel and other expenses in light of the current economic climate. I went to BrainShare in 2002 and 2004, and I enjoyed both conferences immensely. I learned more about the Novell products I was already using, and attended sessions on new products that would help me in my job and in my career. My firm's decision to switch from Novell NetWare to Microsoft Active Directory signaled the end of my BrainShare experiences. When I read this story, my first thoughts were of the people of Salt Lake City that work for the Convention Center where they hold the conference, and for the hotels and businesses that depend on that business. I doubt there's another major conference scheduled for Salt Lake City that will make up that loss of business. It's sad, but many people are probably going to lose their jobs as a result of this decision. I can't blame Novell; it's not their fault the economy is what it is. If customers weren't going to make the trip to Utah for the conference, then Novell and the local businesses would lose money anyway. But it's bad news all around. Apple announced on Tuesday that it will pull out of MacWorld after 2009. I wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft cuts back or even cancels its annual TechEd conference. That would be bad for me in particular, as I think it's my turn to go to TechEd in 2009. That's if my office allows me to go. It's a vicious circle.

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