May is traditionally a month of big developer conferences, with Facebook F8, Google I/O and Microsoft Build often happening within the same two-week period. But not this year. After F8 and I/O were already canceled in favor of online events, Microsoft is now, unsurprisingly, following suit, too, and canceling the in-person element of Build, which was scheduled to run from May 19 to 21, citing concerns over the current coronavirus outbreak.
“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,” the company said in a statement to The Verge. “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 announcement doesn’t exactly come as a surprise. Indeed, it was really only a question of when Microsoft would make the call and the real surprise was how long it took Microsoft to make this call, especially given how hard Washington state has been hit by the coronavirus outbreak. Currently, a number of Washington state counties have banned events with more than 250 people. That ban was set to expire before Build.
It’s worth noting that Microsoft hasn’t actually updated the Build homepage yet and you can still buy a ticket. If I were you, I wouldn’t do that, though. You’ll get a refund, but it’s not worth the hassle.