May of every year is an important month for every tech giant company. As it is the month where conferences like Facebook F8, Microsoft Build, and Google I/O takes place. All of this said conferences are held one after another with a gap of only 2 weeks. But we can’t say the same for this year, as both Facebook and Google have canceled their annual Developer conferences and moved it online. Following suit, Microsoft, too, has reportedly decided to move its 2020 Build Developer conference Online because of the ongoing pandemic COVID-19.
Last Wednesday itself, when the World Health Organization decided to officially term the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic, almost every big company has shifted their conferences, meetings, and other group events online. Not only conferences but tech giants like Google and Amazon have requested their employees to start working from home. According to the CEO’s of these companies, every necessary step to protect and safeguard the health of their employees will be taken, which includes financial aid for setting up daycare for their employee’s children, medical health emergency, etc.
The 2020 Build Developer Conference of Microsoft was supposed to be held on 19th May and go on up to 21st May, but the company over concerns for the Corona-virus outbreak does not want to risk gathering in a group and has moved it online.
While releasing a statement to The Verge, a spokesperson for Microsoft said, “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 place of an in-person event”.Source
He further added that this movement had been done to find a new way to bring all of their developers together to work, learn, and alternately motivate each other. It will be a virtual get together, and they will soon be releasing more updates about it later. According to various news channels and portals, it is not surprising that Microsoft took this decision as Washington State has been hit hard by a Corona-virus. The surprise, though, is how long it took the company to announce it. Facebook and Google had canceled their events and moved it to a virtual long back, and everyone was waiting when Microsoft would make the call.
Because of the number of increasing reports coming from Washington, more than 250 events were put on the banned list, and the expiration dates for those bans were supposed to be lifted before the Microsoft Build Event dates. It can be one of the reasons why Microsoft took such a long time to release a statement
Also, to people who wish to attend the 2020 Build Developer Conference of Microsoft, it should be noted that Microsoft has not updated this information on their official Build website, and you can still purchase tickets for it. Our advice will be not to, as they are going to cancel the event and you will receive the refund on time. But not purchasing the ticket beforehand will save you time and the hassle.
Other companies like Apple and Amazon did not have any coming up events. Hence no statement has been released by them regarding this. But they too have employed policies to keep their employee health in check. Both the companies have recommended work from home to their workers and will also be paying for the extra set up needed to work from home. Twitter has initiated a Corona-virus awareness conference, which has been moved to a virtual platform. This conference is strictly for employees.
In the Twitter conference, the company will be spreading awareness about the pandemic to its employees, how to stay safe, the protocols that need to be followed, and how to maintain peace and calm in their working environment.
Microsoft should have taken more serious steps towards ensuring the health of their employees as unlike other tech giants, this company has not released any statement regarding advising its employees to work from home. Canceling the 2020 Build Developer Conference from an in-person meet up to a virtual platform is their very first step towards COVID-19 safety protocols.
Other companies and offices have already made changes to their policies and closing down offices that are present in the largely affected area like China, till the pandemic settles down. Whether Microsoft will follow suit and add new policies to their existing ones is still unknown. When approached, no comments were provided by their spokesperson about it.