After close to a year of waiting for news and updates regarding the Microsoft MIX 2012 conference, it’s become clear to me that the event will not happen this year.  While this might not seem like a big deal, it says a lot about Microsoft’s direction when it comes to web and mobile development. MIX was Microsoft’s only event dedicated to web and mobile development, as well as the only major event that brought Microsoft technology together with designers and UX professionals. Is the likely cancellation of MIX 2012 a sign that Microsoft is giving up in the web and mobile spaces?

Microsoft’s MIX conference started in 2006 and was quite a departure from Microsoft’s typical conferences. Rather than focusing solely on programmers and on Microsoft technology, the conference included UX professionals and designers as well as a variety of sessions and content for non-Microsoft technology. Over the past 5 years, the conference has expanded to include mobile technology and has been a forum for many critical announcements about Microsoft’s web platform and mobile development.

With PDC (Microsoft’s Windows Developer Focused conference) getting a re-branding and a large amount of attention, combined with decision to cancel MIX; this seems like a clear indicator regarding Microsoft’s feelings toward web and mobile development. After years of working to release competitive tools (like ASP.NET MVC and Blend) and showing a new found drive to embrace web-standards, abruptly cancelling what appeared to be a successful event seems like a step back.

As a frequent evangelist of Microsoft technology, the uncertainty surrounding MIX combined with Microsoft’s departure from CES doesn’t sit well with me. The conference was a welcome change for those of us in design focused fields that still relied on Microsoft technology and even admitted Microsoft fans like myself can’t help but be concerned about this move.

Is this just a cutback due to budget issues or is this a sign of a shift in Microsoft’s vision for web and mobile development? Regardless of the reason behind these changes, they definitely send a message to both developers and customers.