Microsoft now has about three weeks to kick-off its annual developer event, called the Build Conference in Washington, Redmond. But this year, things have changed. The effects of the Coronavirus outbreak have now turned this event into an all-digital experience set for May 19 and May 20.
Microsoft typically uses Build as an opportunity to discuss developer-specific products and services, but we expect this year to be different from how things went in the past. Focus more on software and less about Windows or Office and the Microsoft products you use every day, and A.I.
Take a look at what we expect from Build 2020.
Gratis for Developers, Online-only
Build has always been a unique event where developers and journalists alike can connect with Microsoft employees to learn about the company’s latest offerings. Developers typically pay a high registration fee to attend a variety of sessions dedicated to Microsoft’s latest software and products and get a place.
This year, it has changed. For the first time, Microsoft has turned Build into an online event, which is completely free for developers to watch. In the meantime, journalists and media can view sessions and discuss events through Microsoft’s virtual communications service teams.
Microsoft now calls the Build a “48-hour digital experience.” This highlights the fact that any developer can sign up for free. The event usually begins with a keynote address on the first day, which summarizes the purpose of the event. However, it has not yet been confirmed for this year.
All of this is in line with Microsoft’s plans for the future. The company canceled all of its internal and external events until July 2021 in support of digital experiences. Microsoft had previously conducted an online-only event for the media when it tested and revealed the newly renamed Microsoft 365 consumer subscriptions, which have access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other Office applications.
More n More Developer and Less n Less consumer
In recent times, Build has always focused on developer features such as Microsoft’s Azure cloud-computing operating system. It has never been the case to reveal major updates to consumer products such as Surface and Windows. We expect this to be especially true this year, another change in the format of how you can understand it all.
While Build typically offers a range of Microsoft updates, the company has narrowed down its plans this time around. The initial comments will be short, and Microsoft Chief Program Manager Scott Hanselman will begin the first session focused on developers. You can also find appearances by Julia White, Scott Guthrie, Panos Panay, Kevin Scott, Rajesh Jha, Mark Russinovich, and many more.
“It’s not the Build we thought it would be, but it’s gonna be special,” says Hanselman. “We can’t wait to bring together our community of developers to learn, connect, and code together.” Build 2020 will now be a 48-hour virtual event that begins on May 19 at 8 AM PT / 11 AM ET. Sessions, talks, and demos will all be held across multiple time zones, and there will still be Q&A sessions and interactive parts of the broadcasts.
Build will now take place from May 19 to 21, and you can register for the event for free here.