As the widespread threat of Coronavirus is on the rise, Microsoft has decided to cancel its in-person Build 2020 event. The COVID-19 virus which has claimed tens and thousands of lives around the planet has now raised a major concern among the tech-enthusiastic individuals working in Microsoft.
For now, the hosts have decided that the show will continue in a virtual environment on the same day, mid-May time slot instead of the regular conference which was previously planned to take place.
Also, Microsoft has concluded that they are about to cancel many other small in-person events too.
According to Microsoft’s spokesperson, a statement was issued on the evening of March 12 stating:
“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.”
The news of the event getting cancelled comes as a no surprise as Microsoft encouraged most of their employees who are located in Seattle and Bay Area to stop all tasks and work from home from March 25th onwards. It all started when Microsoft found out that two of its employees are diagnosed with COVID-19. On March 2nd they updated their website with the following news on the Build site:
“In light of the global health concerns due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Microsoft is monitoring public health guidance in relation to in-person events. We are looking carefully at our event calendar as well as our presence at industry events in the coming months. We are not taking decisions lightly, but the health and well-being of our customers, partners, guests, suppliers, and employees remain our ultimate priority. We will continue to monitor and make any necessary changes as the situation evolves.”
As far as for those who have already purchased the tickets, Microsoft has already updated their website with the information on refunds for Build. Microsoft employees who are living in the countries on the CDC COVID-19 afflictions are put on a permanent travel ban because of the rise of the virus.
On March 11, the state governor at Washington made an announcement claiming that public events with more than 250 people or attracting more are meant to be restricted. Such events can become a leading cause of the COVID-19 widespread across the nation. These restrictions are readily in effect in King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties. Seattle where the event was about to take place fall under King’s County.
Why is Build Event 2020 Important?
One of the key conferences held by Microsoft is none other but the Build Event where it unites more than thousands of developers from around the world to effectively socialize. The event is massive because it provides good exposure for the software world on what Microsoft is planning to launch in the future as well. On this event, the estimated attendees were approximately around 5,000. Microsoft planned to provide a sneak-peek into its dual-screen Surface Neo/Duo strategy and talk about its WinUI framework. Microsoft has planned to focus at Build more on its Azure & IoT messages at Build.
Microsoft has decided to launch three major events every year among which the Build 2020 is one. The other two are called Inspire (for reseller/integrator partners) and Ignite (for IT professionals). A rumor was circulating the market almost a year ago, stating that the company is planning to drop its Build event. The idea was to introduce more of its developer content in its Ignite session list. However, that didn’t happen and the plan went on forth to hosting the event at Build 2020 in Seattle.
However, the future had something else in store. As Coronavirus threat became imminent within the state, the colleagues and contacts at Microsoft took precautionary measures by discontinuing the in-person session. Instead, they took the step of virtualizing the whole process and still do it anyway.
Let’s see what the new Build 2020 conference, despite of COVID-19, has in store for the world.