Last week, a report from ZDNet revealed that Microsoft’s upcoming events, including Ignite in September, would be going all-digital due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The software giant has now confirmed in a recent email about its next MVP Summit that all of its external and internal events will be digital-only through July 2021 (via ZDNet).
Here’s what the company said in the email:
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.
As you can see, the coronavirus crisis is going to impact Microsoft's own events for quite some time. "Don’t expect to see any in-person Surface hardware events this year, either,” wrote The Verge’s Tom Warren today. The company's presence at several upcoming trade shows such as Computex and CES is also going to be impacted, though details are still scarce for now.
The July 2021 date that Microsoft mentioned in the email also suggests that next year’s Build developer conference, which Microsoft usually holds in May, will also be digital-only. These are definitely difficult times for the conferences industry, and it could be some time before things eventually go back to normal, if ever.