The novelcontinues to wreak havoc in the global technology industry with three big conferences — Facebook’s F8, the Geneva Motor Show and Mobile World Congress — being called of because the outbreak.
On Thursday, Facebook said it is, a widely anticipated event at which CEO Mark Zuckerberg updates the world on Facebook’s developments and challenges. The reason for the cancellation of the May gathering: concerns about , the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.
Then on Friday, the organizers of the Geneva Motor Showafter the Swiss government banned all events of 1,000 people or more due to the first cases appearing in the country. Originally , the event is one of the largest car shows of the year.
The scrubbing of F8 and Geneva follow the Mobile World Congress, an annual industry gathering that had been scheduled to open on Feb. 24 in Barcelona. Facebook also . Similarly, dropped out of the RSA Conference, which took place this week in San Francisco. The annual cybersecurity gathering typically draws more than 40,000 people. Also, the annual Game Developers Conference, originally scheduled to take place in San Francisco in two weeks, after exhibitors like Amazon, Microsoft, Epic Games, Sony, EA and Facebook dropped out.of
Theas global technology companies weather the impact of the new virus, formally known as SARS-CoV-2, which has shuttered factories, offices and stores, as well as limiting travel. That’s caused companies like and to warn they might miss quarterly revenue forecasts.
COVID-19 has generated concerns around the world since January, when the World Health Organization declared the illness a public health emergency of international concern. The UN health body cited worries about the virus’ spread, particularly to countries “with weaker health systems.” The disease has killed more than 2,800 people, and more than 82,500 people have been infected.
The new coronavirus was discovered in the Wuhan region of Hubei province late last year and has symptoms similar to those of pneumonia. It was first reported to the WHO on Dec. 31, with Chinese scientists linking the disease to a family of viruses that includes SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome). Infections have been found in 38 countries, including more than 50 infections in the US.
Here’s how the outbreak is affecting some of the biggest names in technology.
The giant social network canceled F8, its biggest event of the year, and instead will hold local gatherings for developers, as well as conduct online events.
“This was a tough call to make — F8 is an incredibly important event for Facebook and it’s one of our favorite ways to celebrate all of you from around the world — but we need to prioritize the health and safety of our developer partners, employees and everyone who helps put F8 on,” Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, Facebook’s director of developer platforms and programs, said in a statement.
Previously, Facebook had curtailed employee travel to China andscheduled for early March, which was expected to draw 4,000 people. It also reportedly expects and has .
The iPhone maker said it would because of the effects of the coronavirus. The forecast followed news that the company had temporarily shuttered all of its 42 stores in mainland China, one of its biggest and most important markets. Apple also has temporarily closed its corporate offices and contact centers in China.
Apple has suppliers in the Wuhan area but also has alternative sources for the components they provide. The company is “working on mitigation plans to make up any expected production loss,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said. What’s less clear is how the coronavirus will impact suppliers in other parts of China, he said.
The search giant said Jan. 29 that it’sin mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan because of the health threat. The tech giant has also placed restrictions on business travel to China and Hong Kong.
Google employees in China and those with immediate family members returning from China have been told to work from home for at least 14 days. Google’s China business focuses mainly on sales and engineering for its advertising business.
On Friday, the company said an employee in its Zurich office, though the office itself remains open. Separately, Google said it is cancelling its Google News Initiative Summit because of concerns over the coronavirus. The conference, which was scheduled for late April in Sunnyvale, California, brings together hundreds of people across the media industry. As of this writing, though, the company still has plans to hold its annual developer conference, called Google I/O, scheduled for May.
Foxconn has reportedly told its employees not to come back to work at its offices in Shenzhen, China, until further notice. Though Foxconn last month said the coronavirus , the iPhone builder is now working “to safeguard everyone’s health and safety and comply with government virus prevention measures,” Bloomberg reported Feb. 7, citing an internal memo.
“We urge you not to return to Shenzhen,” Foxconn reportedly said in a text message to employees. Foxconn didn’t respond to a request for comment.
The home-rental service said it would offer guests and hosts affected by coronavirus the opportunity to cancel reservations without penalty. The policy applies to hosts or guests in Hubei Province, where Wuhan is located, with reservations through April 1, as well as any guests already staying in Hubei.
The ride-hailing giant has temporarily suspended roughly 240 user accounts in Mexico to Uber said it suspended the accounts because those users had come in contact with two drivers possibly exposed to the virus. The company acted after receiving information from the Mexico City health department about a passenger who may have been a carrier of the virus. The affected accounts include two drivers who transported the individual, along with about 240 passengers who came in contact with those drivers.. In a statement on Twitter,
in Shanghai for a planned week and a half after the Chinese government told private companies to temporarily cease operations. CFO Zack Kirkhorn told investors about the mandatory closure during the company’s . The shutdown may “slightly” affect first-quarter profits, he said.
The closure came shortly after Tesla had begun ramping up production at the facility. All private facilities were to remain closed until Feb. 9, though utility firms and health care industries remained open.
Nintendo reportedly said production of its popular Switch handset in China was “.” Five factories that make LCD and OLED panels are expected to see slowdowns in production, according to IHS Markit, a research firm.
The show must (not) go on
Before MWC organizer the GSMA pulled the plug on the conference, more than 20 companies said they’d. They included:
It’ll take a while before we know what the impact of the show’s cancellation will be on the mobile industry. Many companies use MWC as the stage to unveil new devices, fromto . And since many companies also to MWC, .
CNET’s Corinne Reichert, Ben Fox Rubin, Jackson Ryan, Shara Tibken, Lynn La, Sean Szymkowski, Dara Kerr, Queenie Wong, Oscar Gonzalez, Dan Ackerman, Stephen Shankland, Chris Paukert and Edward Moyer contributed to this report. Originally published in January, this story is updated as new information becomes available.