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Microsoft and Adobe have a habit of trying to eclipse each other's events. Microsoft began paying, shall we say, "homage" to Adobe's MAX four years ago by launching MIX - Microsoft's own event targeting the same audience of web and content creatives that Adobe aims for with Flash.

MIX 2006 first discussed Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) a subset of which went on to become Silverlight, which became the focus of MIX 2007.

Microsoft would not comment on the possibility of Silverlight news at PDC. In a statement, it said: "PDC sessions are always a great place to hear more about Microsoft products, but we have no additional information about Silverlight to share at this time."

The PDC agenda itself was finally squeezed out by Microsoft just a week before the actual event, on Wednesday afternoon - insultingly late by any standard.

Typically, conference organizers give their delegates months of notice on their shows' content, so attendees can plan their trips and persuade bosses their conference is worth attending.

This time, Microsoft either had nothing to offer or wanted to keep the show under wraps for some hard-to-see super-secret reason. Badgered by The Reg for a detailed agenda, Microsoft's PDC team responded with vague promises of how they were targeting "end of this week". Then they just stopped responding.

The absence of an agenda has annoyed some and seen others decide simply not to go.

The latter might have been Microsoft’s objective, of course. PDC 2010 is a vastly scaled down affair compared to past year’s events. Normally, held in downtown LA with delegates bussed in from across the city, Microsoft’s cut down by hosting on its campus and slimming down the attendee list. Most people will watch on the web.

As for content, it’s difficult to see from the 2010 agenda where the really big news or vision is. Bill Gates detailed the ambitious Longhorn at PDC 2003, that became the Windows Vista albatross, while chief software architect Ray Ozzie unveiled Microsoft's Azure cloud in 2008.

Of the 32 sessions where Microsoft does detail the content, only one talks of new technology: the roadmap for C# .NET and Visual Basic .NET with Microsoft technical fellow Anders Hejlsberg, who helped create C# .NET. ®

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