Microsoft is holding on May 2 in New York City its rumored Spring launch event, which will have a strong educational focus.
Company officials sent out invitations to press, analysts, and other guests today, April 12.
There are no specifics about the Microsoft EDU event in the invitation beyond the date and location. But this is the Microsoft Spring event codenamed “Bespin” about which I blogged yesterday, I feel safe saying.
According to my sources, the Bespin event will focus on Microsoft’s still-unofficially-announced Windows Cloud version of Windows 10.
Windows Cloud, in spite of its name, has little, if anything, to do with the cloud. It’s a version of Windows 10 that is tailored to run Universal Windows Platform/Windows Store apps only, kind of like Windows RT. (It will be upgradeable to Windows 10 Pro, according to testers who’ve had their hands on this in preview form.)
As I noted previously, this May 2 event won’t be where Microsoft debuts its expected Surface Book 2. I’m also hearing the company is not planning to roll out Surface Pro 5 here, even though such a device, with a minor spec bump, is in the works. And to anyone still holding out hope for a Surface Phone: No. Not at this event. (If ever, I’d guess not until 2018, at this point.)
However, Microsoft could use the May 2 event to unveil a lower-priced and less-powerful Surface tablet (not a Pro tablet) running Windows Cloud, some of my contacts have said. It’s not clear if this will be branded “Surface 4” or something else entirely, if it comes to pass.
One of Microsoft’s primary targets with Windows Cloud is the educational market. While Microsoft execs have tried to downplay the impact of Chromebooks and Chrome OS on Windows’ market share, there’s really no denying that they are having an effect, especially in the US.
Microsoft has tried to blunt the effect of Chromebooks and Chrome OS with tools and services meant to make Windows PCs more useful to administrators and educators, as well as with OneNote enhancements aimed at both students and teachers. In January, Microsoft officials introduced a version of the company’s Intune device/app management service for the Education market.
Microsoft has been touting the availability of some of its sub-$300 PC-maker partner devices aimed at the education market. It will be interesting to see if Microsoft plans to try to introduce some kind of new “category-defining” type of Surface device running Windows Cloud which it will encourage its OEMs to emulate with devices of their own.
Given the education-oriented theme of the May 2 event, I would expect that Microsoft corporate vice president Joe Belfiore — whose new job at the company includes educational advocacy among other responsibilities — to be in attendance. I’m not sure which other Microsoft execs will be headlining the event, but I’ll be there and will bring you all the latest as it happens.
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