Microsoft reportedly cancels Build 2020, will become a virtual event (update: confirmed)

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While so far nothing is official, Paul Thurrott is reporting that Build 2020 has been cancelled.

Quick update: a Microsoft spokesperson has confirmed to the Verge (via Mary Jo Foley) that Build is indeed cancelled:

“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. 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 event, scheduled for May 19-20th in Seattle, will go on as a virtual “digital experience,” according to Thurrott. So far, there’s been no official word, and as of this writing the Build 2020 website still says “In light of the global health concerns due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Microsoft is monitoring public health guidance in relation to in-person events.” However, it would be more surprising if Microsoft were to hold Build, especially in Seattle, hard hit by the Coronavirus. Microsoft has already cancelled the MVP Summit and has the vast majority of its employees working remotely, and in the past 24 hours the NBA and NHL have suspended play, the NCAA has cancelled “March Madness,”, Major League Baseball has cancelled the rest of spring training and delayed the start of the baseball season by 2 weeks, and Disney and Universal Studios theme parks have been shut down, along with scores of schools and businesses.

Build is already a virtual event for many developers and enthusiasts, with keynotes and sessions live-streamed, so it makes sense to just pull the plug on the live event. This has been a momentous couple of weeks, with unfortunately more turmoil to come. We urge our readers to take the threat of the Coronavirus seriously, continue to wash your hands and keep yourself safe, and avoid close social contact if you can.