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Microsoft reportedly making most events digital-only for next year

Ignite 2020, Build 2021, and most other events could go digital-only.

What you need to know

  • Microsoft is reportedly moving to make most of its events digital-only for the next year.
  • Ignite 2020 and Build 2021 would be affected.
  • The move would come as more companies are shifting to digital-only events during the current global health crisis.

Microsoft is reportedly set to take most of its events digital through the next year. ZDNet reports that the Microsoft's current plan is to shift to digital events through its 2021 fiscal year, which starts in July 2020. This would impact Ignite 2020 later this year, through the Build 2021 conference which is likely to take place in May.

A Microsoft spokesperson told ZDNet that the company's events through the end of 2020 are planned to go online. "In light of the challenges presented by Covid-19, we are adjusting our event calendar and strategy," the spokesperson said. "For the remainder of 2020 we are embracing the opportunity to experiment with new platforms to provide our partners, customers and developers the highest quality, digital-first experiences."

"We will continue to evaluate the event landscape, but that is what we have to share at this time," the spokesperson said when asked whether the same strategy will apply to the first half of 2021.

The report notes that Microsoft has begun alerting teams internally of its plans to cancel in-person events through its 2021 fiscal year. "The thinking in cancelling so early is the more lead time the company has, the better its virtual events will be," ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley says. However, Microsoft may still participate in-person at some third-party events, the report notes.

The move comes as more companies have shifted their events to online-only affairs amid the current global health crisis. This includes Microsoft, which already canceled its MVP Summit in March. Microsoft also canceled Build 2020 as an in-person event and will hold a digital event in its place. Microsoft also plans to take its E3 2020 Xbox conference digital later this year.


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