Microsoft Still Banning Rivals From Its Conference, Just More Quietly

Microsoft was publicly shamed when it disallowed rival partners like Amazon from participating in the company’s upcoming Worldwide Partner Conference in July. Despite the backlash, Microsoft has not changed its position—though it has changed what the public can see.

Microsoft scrubbed the conference website completely. It originally listed four competitors, whose employees were not allowed to register, but those names are now gone.

When asked if Microsoft had a change of heart and was allowing everyone to attend the conference, a Microsoft spokesperson said Microsoft is removing all the competitors from the main WPC page and including them in the registration process. “All of the companies from yesterday are still on the list, Microsoft just decided to move them all from the main page into the registration process.”

‘Moving them into the registration process’ sounded unclear, so I asked the Microsoft spokesperson to clarify. “The same companies listed yesterday are not able to attend,” she said. Moving them into the registration process presumably means during registration, they’ll be screened, just a bit more privately.

Microsoft customers are undoubtedly using products from Google, Amazon,, and VMware, just as they are using products from other competitors that haven’t been barred from attending. Customers are usually happier when products work well together. This isn’t the open source world, but vendor lock-in isn’t popular outside of open source, either.

Lead image courtesy of Microsoft

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