2021 Microsoft Build conference dates confirmed, May 25-27

A casually dressed man stands within a giant Microsoft Logo.
Enlarge / This year’s Build will be virtual—on the plus side, that means attendance is free and you don’t need to travel. On the minus side, nobody gets to walk inside an enormous, physical Windows logo for a photo opp, like this shot of me at Ignite 2019.
Jim Salter

Microsoft’s annual Build conference will be virtual again this year, running from May 25 to May 27. According to Microsoft, Build is “where developers, architects, start-ups, and students learn, connect, and code together, sharing knowledge and expanding their skill set, while exploring new ways of innovating for tomorrow.”

Thanks at least in part to COVID-19, this is the second year that Build is being held as a virtual event—which follows Microsoft’s statement last year that all its conferences would be virtual-only through July 2021. COVID-19 cases are still trending upward; we wouldn’t be surprised to see Microsoft’s in-person event ban not only upheld but extended.

Build vs. Inspire and Ignite

Build is one of three flagship Microsoft conferences, along with Inspire (scheduled for July) and Ignite (which concluded in March).

Although there is significant overlap among material presented at the three conferences, the angle changes—Build’s primary focus is developers, Inspire’s focus is on the business side, and Ignite is aimed more toward the operations side.

We broadly expect this year’s Build to feature significant content on Windows 10 21H2, which includes a major visual overhaul of Windows 10 alongside many new features. Windows 10X—a special version of Windows targeted to dual-screened tablets and similar devices—is also likely to get significant coverage.