Microsoft Build 2020 Cancelled, Replaced with Virtual Event

In what seemed like an inevitable decision amid all the COVID-19-related cancellations these last few weeks, Microsoft Build 2020 will not happen in May as scheduled, the Redmond-based company confirmed.

Richard Hay, Senior Content Producer

March 17, 2020

3 Min Read
microsoft build 2019
Richard Hay

One of the remaining big in-person tech events planned for May 2020, Microsoft Build 2020, has been cancelled. It will be replaced by a virtual event according to a Microsoft spokesperson (via GeekWire):

“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 community of developers in this new virtual format to learn, connect and code together. Stay tuned for more details to come.”

Microsoft Build 2020 was scheduled to be held at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, Washington from May 19-21. However, the state has been the focus of the largest outbreak of the COVID-19 virus in the United States, and recent restrictions put in place by Washington governor Jay Inslee prohibit gatherings of more than 250 people for the foreseeable future.

Build joins other major tech events across the country that have been cancelled, postponed or put online, including the Mobile World Congress, Apple’s WWDC Conference, Google I/O, Facebook F8, the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) and the Game Developers Conference (GDC) conference.

It is not the first of Microsoft’s events to be affected by the global pandemic; the company canceled its global Ignite tour events in Taipei, Taiwan; Shanghai and Hong Kong, China; Singapore; Zurich, Switzerland; Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Madrid, Spain, and Tel Aviv, Israel, and it canceled its annual MVP Summit.

Typically attended by approximately 6,000 software engineers and web developers, Microsoft Build 2020 is the event where the continued development of Windows 10 and various developer tools is the primary focus. This year’s event was expected to be particularly noteworthy because of last fall’s early look at Surface Duo and Surface Neo, Microsoft’s upcoming dual-screened mobile devices.

Back in February Microsoft laid out the future for these dual-screen Surface devices. Normally, Microsoft Build would be the company’s opportunity to go even more in-depth through deep dive sessions alongside developers building out their apps for these devices.

It will be interesting to see how Microsoft approaches the hardware side of Microsoft Build 2020. The event would have been a perfect venue to distribute either the new Surface hardware or devices from OEM partners so developers can do bare metal testing of their apps on this new form factor.

The last time Microsoft provided attendees hardware for development purposes was the HP Spectre x360 2-in1 at Build 2015 in San Francisco. Back then, the 2-in1 was itself a new form factor of hardware which incorporated a tablet mode thanks to the devices 360-degree hinge. The new dual screen devices from Microsoft and its partners represent the beginning of a new form factor for the Windows device market. Its success is very dependent upon developer uptake and use of the new development enhancements for dual-screen apps.

Bookmark our Microsoft Build landing page to stay up to date when the event begins.

About the Author(s)

Richard Hay

Senior Content Producer, IT Pro Today (Informa Tech)

I served for 29 plus years in the U.S. Navy and retired as a Master Chief Petty Officer in November 2011. My work background in the Navy was telecommunications related so my hobby of computers fit well with what I did for the Navy. I consider myself a tech geek and enjoy most things in that arena.

My first website – – came online in 1995. Back then I used GeoCities Web Hosting for it and is the result of the work I have done on that site since 1995.

In January 2010 my community contributions were recognized by Microsoft when I received my first Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award for the Windows Operating System. Since then I have been renewed as a Microsoft MVP each subsequent year since that initial award. I am also a member of the inaugural group of Windows Insider MVPs which began in 2016.

I previously hosted the Observed Tech PODCAST for 10 years and 317 episodes and now host a new podcast called Faith, Tech, and Space. 

I began contributing to Penton Technology websites in January 2015 and in April 2017 I was hired as the Senior Content Producer for Penton Technology which is now Informa Tech. In that role, I contribute to ITPro Today and cover operating systems, enterprise technology, and productivity.

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