Microsoft's Build 2014 dev conference sells out

Takes a little longer than last year to run through ticket allotment

Microsoft sold out its April Build developers conference yesterday, running through the $2,095 tickets in about 31 hours.

That was a slightly longer stretch than last year, when the conference sold out in just over 24 hours.

Build 2014 went on sale Tuesday at 9 a.m. PT, and Microsoft called it quits at 4 p.m. PT Wednesday. The conference will run April 2-4 in San Francisco at the Moscone Center, a venue used by other large technology firms, including Apple and Google, for their developer gatherings.

Microsoft has not posted a full agenda, but company watchers are expecting that the firm will launch an update for Windows Phone 8 and push out a minor refresh of Windows 8.1 at or around Build. More recent reports have asserted that Microsoft will also use Build to unveil longer range plans for Windows, including some hints of what may become Windows 9 in 2015.

Developer interest -- of which Build's attendance would be only one indicator -- is critical for Microsoft to continue its efforts in moving customers away from the traditional desktop and towards the "Metro" touch-centric, app-based user interface (UI), and to press forward on its device strategy in smartphones, which will get a major shot in the arm when the company wraps up the acquisition of the handset side of Nokia in the coming weeks.

Build could also be the first forum for a new CEO to step on stage, address developers and provide his or her take on the company's strategy. Previously, the head of Microsoft's CEO-search committee said that the new chief executive would be announced early this year, and companies often use an upcoming, already-scheduled event to introduce a new leader to the public.

Prices for Build remained flat at $2,095, the same as for 2013's conference, but unlike in years past the company did not offer a $500 discount for the first 500 who registered.

Developers who cannot attend will be able to follow parts of the conference online if Microsoft hews to practices of the past, when it has webcast the keynote address live and posted some session videos within hours.

Microsoft has set up a wait list for those who did not grab a ticket; last year, the Redmond, Wash. firm went to the ticket well a second time to satisfy demand.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

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