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Microsoft Build is this week - here's what to expect, how to watch, and why I'm excited

Will Microsoft surpass OpenAI and Google's recent AI advances? Here's everything we're expecting and how you can watch the event unfold for yourself.
Written by Sabrina Ortiz, Editor
Microsoft front of building in NYC
Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

The tech spring launch season is in full swing. Following OpenAI's and Google's events, Microsoft is holding its annual developer conference -- Microsoft Build -- next week. If you have been keeping up with the latest generative AI offerings, you won't want to miss the event. 

Also: 9 biggest announcements at Google I/O 2024: Gemini, Search, Project Astra, and more

Microsoft has been a leader in the generative AI space, offering competitive consumer, developer, and enterprise AI solutions, including its Copilot AI chatbot. The past week's launch events have revealed significant developments in AI, including the introduction of multimodality into AI assistants such as OpenAI's GPT-4o and Google's Project Astra

To stay competitive, Microsoft will need to step up its AI game, and what better place to do it than on the Build stage? 

When is Microsoft Build 2024?

Microsoft Build will take place from May 21 to 23 in Seattle. The event kicks off with a two-hour keynote event on Tuesday, May 21 at noon ET, during which the company will make all of its major announcements, including software and hardware launches. 

How to watch Microsoft Build?

Even though Microsoft Build is taking place in Seattle, the keynotes and breakout sessions will be live-streamed on the company's website for the public to tune in and watch the event online in real time. To partake in the digital event experience, you need to register for free online. If you can't make it, don't worry -- ZDNET will be covering the event live from Seattle. 

What announcements are expected?

Since Microsoft has been such a major player in the generative AI race, we can expect AI to be the star of the show with new developer, consumer, and enterprise AI offerings. 

Microsoft's description of the keynote event confirms our expectations: "Join Satya Nadella [CEO], Rajesh Jha [CTO and EVP of AI], and Kevin Scott [EVP Experiences and Devices] to learn how this era of AI will unlock new opportunities, transform how developers work, and drive business productivity across industries." 

Also: Copilot Pro vs. ChatGPT Plus: Which is AI chatbot is worth your $20 a month?

What AI announcements can we expect? Because this is a developer's conference, there will likely be a lot of updates for developer offerings such as GitHub, Fabric, Azure AI, and Azure DevOps. We also expect to see major upgrades to Microsoft's consumer products, with Copilot taking center stage. 

Regarding hardware, we expect the company to unveil consumer versions of the Surface Pro 10 and Laptop 6. The enterprise versions of these devices were released in March at the company's March Surface and Windows AI event. The highlights included a new Intel Core Ultra (5 or 7) processor with a dedicated Neural Processing Unit to better support AI tasks. This week's launch would mark Microsoft's first AI-powered Surface PCs for consumers. 

Why am I excited?

It is no secret that Copilot has been my favorite AI chatbot since the AI race began because it boasted several features the free version of ChatGPT lacked. However, at OpenAI's spring event, the company unveiled several new features that drastically upgraded free ChatGPT, leaving me with no choice but to switch teams and start predominantly using ChatGPT

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However, given Google and OpenAI's latest announcements in the past week, which introduced multimodality to their AI assistants, I think Microsoft might also be introducing major upgrades to its AI chatbot to even the playing field. Considering that Microsoft has generally been ahead of the curve, the company might introduce even more exciting features that continue to give it a competitive advantage over other AI chatbots. I can't wait to see what the company does. 

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