the article reflects a very vendor-focused and self-centered opinion of one individual.
they didn't accept your submission, so therefore there is little practical use for the speakers who were chosen over you. says who? just because it was of no interest to you, doesn't make it useless.
if you want to go to vendor-centric conferences (no shortage of those), no one is stopping you. there are plenty of things to be learned at a general conference, and one gets to meet people who have knowledge one may need, or ideas one has never considered. other professionals often have valuable new information or experience that is more commonly accessible at a non-vendor-specific conference.
general security conferences have become more about collaboration and theory than training, but that makes them more valuable, as there is nothing else out there that serves the same function.
just because it isn't Microsoft or Cisco, doesn't mean it has no merit. it just means you (yes, you, the author) shouldn't be there.
and as for the junket argument, it's nonsense. we work in a rapidly innovating technological field, with capabilities and constraints that change on a yearly basis. that budget was allocated to allow company staff to interact with others in the field, and to see technology and techniques that they would not experience otherwise (something they would likely not see at a vendor-centric venue). that information may prove very useful, and could save the company money, make it more competitive, or likely both.
the only people who truly learn nothing at general conferences are non-technical managers who have technical subordinates. these managers (the "low-hanging fruit") are usually discovered by aggressive, ethics-free salespeople that persuade them to buy expensive, marginal products. this situation is much worse at vendor-specific conferences, where a rapacious vendor runs the show, and can push crap products even more effectively.
if you really think you can't learn anything new at a general conference, perhaps it's time you switched to marketing.