Microsoft's 2020 Build developers conference shifts to virtual event due to coronavirus

Slated for May 19-21 in Seattle, Microsoft's huge developers conference will now be available online only, as the coronavirus forces more companies to cancel in-person events.

Microsoft is switching gears on one of its biggest annual tech conferences because of the growing spread of the coronavirus. On Thursday, the software giant revealed that it's cancelling its in-person Build developer's conference and will instead hold the event as a virtual forum available only online.

SEE: Coronavirus having major effect on tech industry beyond supply chain delays (free PDF) (TechRepublic) 

Microsoft shared the news in a statement sent to TechRepublic and ZDNet:

"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."

On Friday, the company also updated its Build website with a similar statement:

"The safety of our community is top priority. In light of global health concerns due to COVID-19 and related government actions in Washington State, we will deliver our annual Microsoft Build for developers as a digital experience, in lieu of an in-person event. Refunds will be issued to all registrants.

We look forward to bringing together our community of developers in this new digital format to learn, connect, and code together. Stay tuned for more details to come."

Aimed at software and web developers, the Build conference is an annual event at which Microsoft discusses its various tools and technologies and explains how tech professionals can take advantage of them. This year's conference has been scheduled for May 19-21, and Microsoft hasn't indicated any changes to those dates.

In light of the coronavirus, Microsoft had already cancelled its annual Most Valuable Professional Summit, which will also shift to an online event. The MVP Summit was set for March 15-20 in Bellevue and Redmond, WA. The company also switched its WSLConf event to online-only. Of course, Microsoft joins a growing list of other companies and organizations all cancelling or postponing in-person events due to the virus outbreak.

GSMA cancelled its Mobile World Congress in Barcelona after a number of companies started to drop out. Likewise, the Entertainment Software Association cancelled its E3 video game event slated for June 9-11 in Los Angeles.

Facebook pulled the plug on its annual Global Marketing Summit that had been set for San Francisco this past week and its F8 developer conference that was scheduled for May 6-8 in San Jose, CA. Google has cancelled its I/O conference set for May 12-14 in Mountain View, CA, and has moved its Cloud Next conference to an online venue.

Other tech companies forced to cancel, postpone, or change in-person events include Adobe, Cisco, Dell, Gartner, Kaspersky, Oracle, and SAP.

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Microsoft headquarters in Bucharest, Romania

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