Microsoft Cancels In-Person Build Developer Conference and Moves Event Online

Microsoft has announced that the 2020 Build developer conference will not go ahead as an in-person gathering and will take place online this year instead, owing to concerns over the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.


The tech giant had planned to hold the annual conference in Seattle from May 19 to May 21, but Microsoft has decided to make it an altogether "digital event." A Microsoft spokesperson provided The Verge with the following statement:

The safety of our community is a top priority. In light of the health safety recommendations for Washington State, we will deliver our annual Microsoft Build event for developers as a digital event, in lieu of an in-person event. We look forward to bringing together our ecosystem of developers in this new virtual format to learn, connect and code together. Stay tuned for more details to come.

Like Apple's WWDC, Build annually brings together thousands of developers from all over the world, and Microsoft typically uses the event to preview its latest software and services updates. This year, Microsoft is expected to share more details about its dual-screen plans for Android and Windows 10X.

It's not the first tech company to cancel a major developer event in light of the pandemic. Facebook's F8 and Google's I/O developer conferences have been canceled due to the coronavirus. On Wednesday, organizers for both the E3 gaming convention and NAB trade show also announced cancelations.

Other public events and sports seasons in the U.S. have been either canceled or suspended amid the viral outbreak, in an effort to limit the possibility of a rapid rise in infection rates. Similar containment measures have been implemented or are actively being considered in many other countries.

Apple hasn't provided word about its upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference, which is normally held in San Jose, California, in June, but it now seems only a matter of time before Apple announces that the event has been canceled or will be held in some digital capacity.

Top Rated Comments

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11 weeks ago
Apple's WWDC should have gone online 5 years ago (or earlier) anyway, just due to the fact that they have had to go to using a lottery to dial back attendance numbers. Forcibly reducing attendance is the antithesis of the purpose of a developer's conference anyway. Sure, going online messes up the ability for companies to use the WWDC as a promotional event, but it accomplishes the goal of educating as many developers as possible. Put the WWDC online, and if you must, create a separate event (Hello Macworld Expo?) that centers on the social aspects of the business.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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11 weeks ago
A very sensible thing to do, imho. I am just surprised that other big tech companies (Facebook & Google) have not gone the same way, cancelling their events altogether instead.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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11 weeks ago
Can't say that I'm surprised - it seems that life in the US and the world are on hold.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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11 weeks ago
Probably a little unrelated but I love how Microsoft is shining again. The user experience is getting better, the features are even richer. I love tech regardless of the company but I have a sweet spot for Microsoft.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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11 weeks ago
Apple hasn't announced WWDC yet, so they don't need to cancel it. They'll likely hold the event online so they'll announce it eventually. I guess they're still organising the online event so they're waiting to announce it.
Bummer for the fellow iOS developers who already booked the hotel in San Jose guessing the dates, hope they'll be able to get a full refund but booking in advance is always a risk if you're not sure about the dates.
They'll miss the networking opportunities and the labs, but save money. I couldn't afford to go there, so to me it would be the usual WWDC with online sessions.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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11 weeks ago


Can't say that I'm surprised - it seems that life in the US and the world are on hold.

Well of course!

People’s health > everything else in the world
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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