Microsoft Build 2021: How to watch and what to expect

Microsoft's annual developer conference will be a virtual event again.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor
Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft is keeping its developer event schedule running this year, opting for a free all-digital livestream that runs from today through Thursday. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will deliver the opening keynote which, according to Microsoft, "will highlight how Microsoft is creating new opportunities for developers across the modern tech stack." The keynote is scheduled for 9 am PT / noon ET today.

Microsoft's Build conference will be streamed live on mybuild.microsoft.com. If you're not already registered for the event, be sure to arrive a few minutes early.

Microsoft is supplementing its main, larger conferences this year with smaller "What's Next" virtual events. A "What's Next for Gaming" event is expected in the coming weeks. The Game Stack Live event also listed on the US events page is not that event, I hear.

I'm also not sure if the expected "What's Next for Windows" event that Microsoft has planned will be Build 2021 itself, or a separate virtual event held before Build takes place. Microsoft officials opted to break out some of Microsoft's bigger product announcements this year in the form of separate dedicated virtual events. A "What's Next for Industry" February event is where Microsoft launched more of its vertical cloud bundles. Spring Ignite was considered its "What's Next for Cloud" event. Microsoft also is expected to do a "What's Next for Security" virtual event later this year.

Microsoft officials are trying to ramp up and engagement around Windows this year, after several years of not putting a lot of energy into and focus on promoting that business. So maybe Build actually will include new content that will highlight Windows 10X, Windows 10 21H2, and more. Recent Build events have focused heavily on Office, Azure, Power Platform, and IoT and to a lesser extent on Windows.

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