In addition to hosting its annual Build developer conference online, Microsoft now plans to make the event free to attend. On Thursday, the company’s Scott Hanselman announced the conference will start on May 19th at 8AM PT / 11AM ET and feature 48-hours of programming, including sessions, talks and demos hosted by the company’s engineers. Anyone can register to attend Build 2020 starting today free of charge.
The event will kick off with a keynote address from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. According to The Verge’s Tom Warren, Panos Panay, the company’s outspoken chief product officer, will also make an appearance at Build 2020. The company will host workshops on Twitch, and attendees will have access to Microsoft employees if they need to ask a question or troubleshoot one of their projects. Developers may also get goodies in the mail as the registration process asks individuals to provide their shipping information. In past years, Build had a $2,395 entry fee.
“It’s not the Build we thought it would be, but it’s gonna be special,” said Hanselman. “We can’t wait to bring together our community of developers to learn, connect and code together.”
Like so many other things, the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the annual developer conference circuit, in some instances even leading to outright cancellations. Google, for example, had planned to host its annual I/O conference online. However, in March the company, citing California’s shelter in place order, canceled the digital component as well. At the moment, all signs point to Apple planning to go forward with an online-only WWDC, but that could change too.