Microsoft Build will be an online-only event this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The annual developer event draws about 5,000 people and was scheduled for May 19-21 in Seattle.
“The safety of our community is a top priority,” Microsoft said in a statement. “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 community of developers in this new virtual format to learn, connect and code together. Stay tuned for more details to come.”
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The decision comes one day after Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced a ban on events with more than 250 attendees in King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties through the end of March. The moratorium is the state’s latest and toughest effort to stem the spread of COVID-19. Inslee said the prohibition will last until the end of the month but cautioned, “it is very highly likely that it will be extended beyond March.”
The Washington Department of Health lists 457 confirmed COVID-19 cases today, which is 91 more than the day before.
Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., traditionally uses Build to show off new technologies for Office to Windows to various other products and services.
It’s the latest large tech event to postpone or cancel amid the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that the World Health Organization declared a pandemic this week. Google canceled its developer event, I/O, due to the outbreak. E3, Mobile World Congress, and Facebook F8 were also cancelled. Emerald City Comicon, another large event in Seattle originally scheduled for this week, was postponed to later this year.
Microsoft previously canceled its Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Summit in the Seattle region and moved the event online.
Much like other companies in the Seattle region, Microsoft is asking employees to work from home if they are able to do so.