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Microsoft Cancels In-Person Inspire Partner Conference

Due to concerns over COVID-19, Microsoft canceled the in-person portion of its massive annual partner conference, Microsoft Inspire, which had been scheduled for Las Vegas from July 19-23.

Early registration had been scheduled to open Tuesday.

"The safety of our community is a top priority. In light of health safety recommendations from public health authorities, we will not be holding Microsoft Inspire 2020 as an in-person event. We are exploring alternative ways to bring our partner community together to connect and learn. Stay tuned for more details to come," Microsoft said in a statement posted Monday night. The statement was attached to the top of Channel Chief Gavriella Schuster's Feb. 20 blog post previewing the conference.

Inspire is a massive conference. The show regularly draws 10,000 to 15,000 attendees with roughly half of them traveling from all around the world to be there. Microsoft executives giving keynote speeches in 2019 included CEO Satya Nadella, President Brad Smith, Executive Vice President of Worldwide Commercial Business Judson Althoff and Schuster, whose formal title is corporate vice president for One Commercial Partner.

While Microsoft has canceled live portions of other conferences, such as Microsoft Build, the Inspire move is doubly significant. With a start time in the second half of July, it's one of the later technology conferences to be canceled so far.

Additionally, Inspire's emphasis on helping partners to network with each other, with vendors and with Microsoft, is one of the most valuable aspects of the show. Due to the networking focus, it will be a difficult experience to replicate virtually.

Posted by Scott Bekker on March 24, 2020


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