IT/Dev Connections Speaker Highlight: Mary Jo Foley

IT/Dev Connections Speaker Highlight: Mary Jo Foley

Part of an ongoing series, we're highlighting the excellent speakers we have handpicked to present phenomenal and extremely valuable content at the IT/Dev Connections conference.

Today's speaker highlight is the knowledgeable yet adorable Mary Jo Foley.


 Mary Jo Foley has been a tech journalist for almost 30 years. She currently is the editor of the "All About Microsoft" blog ( on ZDNet. She also is the author of "Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft Plans to Stay Relevant in the Post-Gates Era" (John Wiley & Sons) and co-host of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT Network. Foley covers the people, products and strategies that affect Microsoft, its customers, its partners and its competitors, with a special emphasis on business-related topics.

Mary Jo's IT/Dev Connection sessions:


Recently, we asked Mary Jo to give us a little information about herself. Here's what she shared:


WITPRO: Give us a brief introduction to Mary Jo Foley.

Mary Jo: I am a freelancer, whose primary gig is writing a blog on ZDNet called "All About Microsoft." ( This blog is written, edited and produced within the 450 square feet that I call home in midtown Manhattan. (I left/fled Seattle 14 years ago to come back to my East Coast roots.) In addition to living and working here, I also brew beer in my palatial space. I am very into craft beer and brew small batches (1 gallon each) in my kitchen as often as possible. And yes, it’s true, I use geographic place names (like MS does) for my beer batches. I think I just passed Fargo...


WITPRO: Describe the sessions you are presenting and why you feel the topic is important.

Mary Jo: I’m going to be presenting a session on Microsoft’s latest makeover. In spite of reorgs and CEO shifts, Microsoft is continuing to push ahead with its new charter to get devices and services – both its own and third parties’ – into customers’ hands. I have lots to say about the challenges and opportunities the company and its customers, partners and developers are facing as Microsoft moves into a new era.

Along with my Windows Weekly cohost Paul Thurrott, I’ll also be doing a Windows Weekly live taping from the conference on Thursday. This will be a great way for the live audience to ask questions on our TWiT netcast about the latest Microsoft-centric products and strategies. We’ll cover news of the week, do software tips, enterprise updates and, of course, beer pick of the week!


WITPRO: What should attendees expect to be able to take away from your sessions?

Mary Jo: Attendees will be free to ask everything they’ve always wanted to know about Microsoft but been afraid to ask. And hopefully, I’ll be able to come up with (mostly) plausible and realistic answers. Or at least be able to share what I know based on what I’ve heard from my contacts inside and outside the company.


WITPRO: What is your primary reason to be excited about IT Connections?

Mary Jo: This will be my second time speaking at IT Connections. Had a great time at the first, where there was excellent audience participation and questions. I’m betting this year, with all the changes happening at Microsoft, things will be even more interesting, exciting and (insert the adjective of your choice).


WITPRO: What is the one key technology you believe is changing IT right now?

Mary Jo: I really think the cloud is changing everything. Even companies that aren’t yet sold on the cloud or testing/developing/deploying on the cloud should still be aware of what’s happening on that front. And Microsoft has really stepped up its Windows Azure, hybrid cloud and Office 365 stories in the past year. It’s key for IT pros and devs to stay current on what Redmond is thinking and doing on this front.


WITPRO: Who would you suggest Microsoft hire to replace Steve Ballmer as CEO? 

Mary Jo: I am not sure who I’d suggest to be Microsoft’s new CEO. I have a much longer list of candidates I hope and pray are not Microsoft’s next CEO. (Far too long to list here.) I may be one of the last/only bloggers out there who doesn’t feel qualified to make a recommendation on this front. We’ve seen plenty of former Softies and even some Microsoft competitors (hello, Marc Benioff) who’ve supplied all of us with more than enough mostly laughable ideas. If pushed to choose, I’d have to say Grumpy Cat gets my vote.



IT/Dev Connections runs from September 30 – October 4, at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. IT/Dev Connections has been designed specifically for IT. You can read all about what IT/Dev Connections offers you HERE.

And, there's still time to register!  Here are some important resources to check out:


Windows, System Center, and Cloud Sessions

Pre-con and Post-con Workshops

Travel and Lodging Information

Full Speaker List


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