Microsoft could be considering transitioning most of its events to digital-only through the year 2021, according to a report from ZDNet. The change could impact future events like the 2021 Microsoft Build developer conference and has also been confirmed to affect other events through the end of the year 2020, including the Microsoft Ignite partner conference.
In a statement from a Microsoft spokesperson, the company explained that this decision was made in light of the current situation around novel coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19.
“In light of the challenges presented by COVID-19, we are adjusting our event calendar and strategy. 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,” said the Microsoft spokesperson.
This news comes after Microsoft canceled this year’s Build 2020 conference in favor of a digital event instead. The company has also officially confirmed that Ignite 2020 also won’t go on as planned, and will be held as a digital experience, in lieu of an in-person event, as noted on the official website.
According to the ZDNet report, Microsoft has already alerted internal officials about plans to cancel all public events in favor of online events for fiscal 2021, which runs from July 2020 to June 2021. However, it is also said that Microsoft hasn’t “decided definitively” if all events in 2021 could go digital. There is still the possibility that “third-party” events could still see participation from Microsoft.
It’s unknown if this change is likely to impact the release of Microsoft’s Surface hardware. Rumors previously indicated that Microsoft could be planning to hold an event in New York City centered around the Surface Book 3, and the Surface Go 2. Microsoft could likely hold the event digitally instead, as it did for a recent event centered around new Microsoft 365 Personal and Microsoft 365 Family subscriptions.
Along with making Build 2020 and Ignite 2020 digital-only events, Microsoft also canceled its annual MVP Summit earlier last month in March. With E3 being canceled, the company is also planning its own digital event instead of an E3 presentation, centered on the next-generation Xbox One Series X game console.
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