Following a report that Microsoft would go all-digital for its events into 2021, the company has confirmed it would do just that.
In an email sent out to ‘Microsoft MVPs’ and consequently shared on Twitter, Microsoft says its events will be digital only until July 2021. The email attributes the change to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. You can read the full text from the email below:
“In light of the challenges presented by Covid-19, Microsoft has been closely monitoring the developing global situation and re-assessing the overall company-wide in-person event strategy. As a company, Microsoft has made the decision to transition all external and internal events to a digital-first experience through July 2021. This will include the future MVP & RD Summit which is currently scheduled for March 28-April 2, 2021. We will continue to evaluate the situation and look forward to connecting in person when the situation allows.”
We already knew that Microsoft Build, originally to be held in Seattle, Washington in May, would become a digital-only event. Further, we knew a handful of other events would also become digital-only events. However, this email confirms that events further out from now, such as Ignite in September, will also be digital-only.
It's official: All Microsoft conferences will be digital-only through July 2021. pic.twitter.com/wTBb7Z6pQB
— Ginny Caughey (@gcaughey) April 6, 2020
Other impacted events include Microsoft’s presence at the rescheduled Computex 2020 event set for September this year, CES 2021 and Microsoft’s own Build 2021 event next May.
The Verge also notes that Microsoft cancelled its in-person Inspire event for partners that was going to take place in July. Microsoft reportedly hasn’t decided whether to make Inspire a digital event or not, likely stemming from the number of attendees. For context, Build usually has 5,000 attendees, Ignite usually around 25,000 and Inspire as many as 40,000.
Further, the change means there won’t be any in-person Surface hardware events this year.
Considering how much time it can take to plan some of these events, Microsoft likely is trying to get out ahead on planning for the digital replacements. By giving its digital events team more time to prepare, the digital events will likely be higher quality.