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Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Coronavirus: Business and technology in a pandemic

Microsoft cancels MVP Summit due to COVID-19 coronavirus fears

Microsoft won't be holding its annual Most Valuable Professional Summit in the Seattle area later this month due to fears of the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus.

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Microsoft is canceling its annual Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Summit a couple weeks ahead of its opening, citing worries over the COVID-19 coronavirus. Instead, the event will be run as a virtual-only conference during the same time slot this year. The Microsoft MVP Summit joins a growing list of conferences and events canceled over potential health issues connected to the virus.

Microsoft began notifying MVPs of the cancellation on March 2. The Microsoft MVP Global Summit 2020 was slated to run from March 15 to 20 in Bellevue and Redmond, Wash. The annual MVP summit is a multi-day event that includes technical and feedback sessions for active Microsoft MVPs.

Microsoft officials still haven't said whether the company intends to cancel its annual Build developers conference due to COVID-19. Build is scheduled for May 19 to 21 in Seattle, Wash.

The COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak is affecting global supply chains and consumer demand. Microsoft officials recently warned that its More Personal Computing unit, Surface, and Windows OEM revenue will miss targets, as China's supply chain "is returning to normal operations at a slower pace than anticipated" due to the coronavirus.

Update (March 3): A Microsoft spokesperson sent the following statement, re: MVP Summit: "The health and safety of our MVP community is a top priority. Due to growing concern, we've decided to shift our 2020 MVP Global Summit to a digital experience with exclusive, in-depth technical sessions on March 16-20." 

The spokesperson also told me that Microsoft had "nothing to share" on Build. But at some point yesterday, Microsoft updated its Build website with the following statement:

I"n light of the global health concerns due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Microsoft is monitoring public health guidance in relation to in-person events. At this time, global health authorities have not issued guidance to avoid travel to this location. We are looking carefully at our event calendar as well as our presence at industry events in the coming months. We are not taking decisions lightly, but the health and well-being of our employees, partners, customers and other guests remain our ultimate priority.

"We will continue to monitor and make any necessary changes as the situation evolves."

Microsoft also announced today that it is cancelling the in-person WSLconf Linux conference scheduled for next week and turning it into an online event open to all.