In recent weeks we’ve seen a number of technology companies choose to cancel their conferences due to growing fears surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and possible infection and spread of the virus among attendees.
Microsoft has similar concerns, but instead of cancelling its annual Build conference, the firm has decided to make it the developer-focused event online-only with virtual sessions replacing the physical ones.
“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 firm explained in a statement sent to The Verge.
As such Microsoft Build will retain its original 19th to 21st May event dates, but is of course now a purely digital event.
Given the importance the event holds for developers, finding a workaround with technology makes sense. This especially as Microsoft plans to showcase more of its Windows 10X plans, and potentially a few pieces of dual-screened hardware running the new operating system.
It should be interesting to see how those outside of Microsoft Build react to news about Windows 10X and hardware when there likely won’t be any hands-on interactions with devices, given the new online-only billing.
Either way we expect quite a few more companies to adopt this tactic moving forward for their events, with Huawei’s P40 series launch later this month also being a purely live streamed press conference instead of a larger in-person event.
With Google I/O and Facebook’s F8 already cancelled, it remains to be seen what Apple does for WWDC this year, which is the other well-known annual developer conference. For now we’ll have to wait and see.