Microsoft Cancels Ignite, Embraces All-Digital Experiences

Posted on April 1, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft with 5 Comments

The inevitable has happened: Microsoft has canceled Ignite and will embrace “digital-first experiences” for the rest of 2020.

News of this change was first reported by Mary Jo Foley.

“In light of the challenges presented by Covid-19, we are adjusting our event calendar and strategy,” a Microsoft statement explains. “For the remainder of 2020 we are embracing the opportunity to experiment with new platforms to provide our partners, customers, and developers the highest quality, digital-first experiences.”

The Microsoft Ignite website has been updated to include more specific information about that show, which is Microsoft’s biggest.

“The safety of our community is [our] top priority,” the site now reads. “In light of global health concerns due to COVID-19, we will deliver our annual Microsoft Ignite conference as a digital experience, in lieu of an in-person event. We look forward to bringing together our community to learn innovative ways to build solutions, migrate and manage your infrastructure, and connect with Microsoft experts and other technology professionals from around the globe. Stay tuned for more details to come.”

I appreciate Microsoft’s desire to host “all-digital experiences” in lieu of live events, and I’m sure there will be plenty of opportunities for good content this year. But I think we can all agree that virtual events—live or pre-recorded—are no replacement for a real, in-person conference, especially one the size and scope of Ignite.

And for the pedantic who want to argue that Ignite is still happening in some way and is thus not “canceled,” please. Ignite was canceled. It is being memorialized by something different, no matter how Microsoft chooses to describe it.

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Comments (6)

6 responses to “Microsoft Cancels Ignite, Embraces All-Digital Experiences”

  1. will

    Is there still a fee for the event or will it be free?

  2. christian.hvid

    I know the climate change issue is very 2019, but surely there must be some benefit in not having thousands of attendees flying or driving to the conference every year?

  3. TroyTruax

    Last week my company was holding a meeting demonstrating new software system that we will be deploying. Originally, they had it set up so that key players (managers) would fly to the corporate headquarters to participate in 3 days of full day demos. Recent restrictions caused them to change to a web cast. Because of the cost savings (no airline tickets, hotels, meals, etc) they were able to invite a much larger group of employees to view the demos. This is will certainly change things going forward.

  4. chrisrut

    "But I think we can all agree that virtual events—live or pre-recorded—are no replacement for a real, in-person conference, especially one the size and scope of Ignite."


    Well, although true at this moment in time, it WILL change: Covid-19 could well be what pushes VR/AR over the tipping point, as people invent entirely new ways of experiencing reality. And while virtual excursions may miss some things that make reality so fun, it will at the same time bring new opportunities; AR/VR will allow us to go places and do things that are impossible in person.


    This is the time to invent new ways of extending our specie through technology.


    And for those who may not have noticed: MS is very involved in creating that technology.

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