With Windows once again at the heart of Microsoft’s strategy, the software giant assembled its developer base for another massive PDC (Professional Developers Conference) in October 1998, this time in Denver. Unlike most previous PDCs, which focused on specific platform milestones, like Win32 and Windows NT in 1992 and the Internet PDC of 1996, this show lacked a singular focus. Instead, spurred to action by antitrust accusations, Microsoft sought to present a mature face to the world, one that focused more on its cozy relationships with developers and customers, and less on its ability to embrace and extend the Internet.
The timing of this PDC was strange, since there were literally no major platform milestones on the near horizon. Windows NT 5.0 had been delayed repeatedly and now wouldn’t ship until late 1999. And Windows 98, which Microsoft originally planned as the final entry in the DOS-based Windows family, would now be followed-up by two sequels in the next few years. So, with its grand unification plan pushed back beyond those releases, Microsoft’s messaging was all about momentum.