Microsoft Build Sets Date for Virtual Event

A virtual Build is set for May 19 and 20 and is free for everyone

Developer's conferences like Microsoft Build help set the consumer product and services agenda for the year and beyond. Microsoft's decision to hold a shorter, all-online, free event means it can still deliver critical information to developers who will then build new experiences for you based on Microsoft products, like Windows, Office, and Skype.

Picture of the exterior of the Microsft headquarters in Redmond, Washington.
An exterior view of the Microsoft headquarters during the Microsoft CEO Summit is shown May 22, 2002 in Redmond, Washington. (Photo by Ron Wurzer/Getty Images)

Microsoft Build is on. It's shorter, free, and partially pre-recorded, but after other tech companies scuttled or are still figuring out what they'll do with their developer conferences, Microsoft is moving forward with a "special" event.

The details: Microsoft announced that it's opening free registration for the virtual Build, which will run on May 19 and 20 (the original Build would have run through the 21st).

Why it's special: First of all, Build is now free, meaning anyone can register if you have a Microsoft account. In previous years, Build registration has cost thousands of dollars.

It's refocused: In a blog post, Microsoft's Scott Hanselman, who will help open the online event, wrote, "It needs to be about humans as much as tech. More than tech. We build (BUILD!) stuff for each other - that's the whole point and sometimes it takes a situation like the one we're in to be reminded of that." According to TechCrunch, Microsoft will not use Build to introduce and showcase new consumer-facing technology. Instead, the sessions (live and recorded) will focus on developer updates and solutions.

There's still a keynote: On the other hand, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is still delivering an opening keynote on May 19 at 8 AM PST. At the very least, Nadella will probably make some newsworthy statements relevant to developers and consumers.

What you missed: Build promises a mix of live and recorded sessions, but Hanselman wrote that everything will be recorded for on-demand viewing. Those sessions, by the way, will be shorter than previous in-person ones, which also means there will be more of them.

Bottom line: Even when people can't meet in person, tech companies are finding new and innovative ways to connect and deliver crucial information. Microsoft, its developers, and, yes, consumers need Build. The company can't move products like Windows forward without connecting to the developers who build on it.

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