The impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Microsoft is growing and could claim the company's flagship conference. Microsoft could be forced to cancel Build 2020 following the first death caused by the virus in the United States.
Of course, Seattle satellite Redmond is where Microsoft is headquartered and holds Build each year. Coronavirus claimed its first US victim over the weekend, a man based in the Seattle area. While cases of the virus have been limited to around 100 in the country, the threat of Coronavirus becoming a pandemic is apparent.
In a public statement, Seattle City Mayor, Jenny A Durkan, says preparations must begin to stop the spread of the virus.
“Although there are no confirmed cases in the City of Seattle, we have been preparing as a City since January. We remain in regular, close contact with the Washington State Department of Health, Public Health – Seattle & King County, the King County Executive, the Governor's Office and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Our public health officials at the state, local and national levels are working together to keep the public safe and informed. Individuals, families, and businesses should make plans and prepare. The number one thing people can do now is to heed the public health advice to keep from getting sick, and stay home if you do get sick.”
If Coronavirus continues to spread, enforced closures of businesses and institutions may be put in place. Build 2020 is scheduled for May 19 to 21 and would certainly be under threat if the virus keeps spreading.
We expect Microsoft would leave such a decision to the latest possible moment, but within enough time for people who are travelling for Build.
Coronavirus has already impacted Microsoft. Last week, the company revealed it will miss its third quarter financial estimates because of the impact on supply chains following the outbreak. Microsoft also cancelled an upcoming Ignite The Tour event in Hong Kong.
Mobile World Congress 2020 was also cancelled due to health concerns surrounding coronavirus. That cancellation also impacted Microsoft has the company had planned mixed reality sessions at the conference.