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How the coronavirus is Impacting the Global Tech Industries

Tech companies encourage working from home amidst coronavirus outbreak
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The spread of the coronavirus has continued to wreak havoc on global economies, industries and the global technology industry. A lot of companies have shut down factories and banned business-related travel to china and other regions battling the spread of the coronavirus.

Major events in the global tech industry like Facebook F8, the Geneva Motor Show Mobile World Congress and Google I/O have been called off due to the outbreak.

The novel coronavirus discovered in the Wuhan region of China’s Hubei province late last year and has symptoms similar to those of pneumonia. It was first reported to the World Health Organization 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). The disease has killed over 3,200 people, and more than 94,000 people have been infected in over 60 countries.

Here is a list of global technology industries that have called off their major events due to the spread of coronavirus

Facebook cancels the major event due to coronavirus outbreak

Cancelled its F8 developer conference, the company’s biggest event of the year at which CEO Mark Zuckerberg updates the world on Facebook’s developments and challenges. The tech giants will instead hold local gatherings for developers and online events.

Reduced employee travel to China.

Cancelled a marketing summit scheduled for early March, which was expected to draw 4,000 people.

Is giving the WHO free ads in order to provide health information.

Expects delays in the production of its Oculus VR headset.

Banned ads that promise a coronavirus cure.

Withdrew from the SXSW festival.

Announced that a contractor in its Seattle offices has tested positive for coronavirus.

Reportedly closed its Seattle office until March 9, with employees being encouraged to work from home at least until March 31.

Apple

Said it will miss its quarterly revenue guidance because of the effects of the coronavirus.

Has temporarily closed all of its 42 stores in mainland China, one of its biggest and most important markets; closed its corporate offices and contact centres in China.

Has been forced to seek alternative sources for parts after suppliers in Wuhan closed because of the outbreak in that city.

Reportedly warned retail stores that replacements for badly damaged iPhones will be in short supply.

Reportedly restricted travel to Italy, China and South Korea, and closed a retail store in Italy.

Reportedly pulled out of SXSW festival.

Google

Telling Seattle area employees to work remotely if they can.

Temporarily closing all its offices in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Restricted business travel to China and Hong Kong.

Told employees with immediate family members returning from China to work from home for at least 14 days.

Related: Coronavirus Death Toll Hits 3,000

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Kept European offices open even though an employee in Zurich had been diagnosed with coronavirus.

Cancelled its Google News Initiative Summit scheduled for late April in Sunnyvale, California.

Changed its annual cloud conference, which drew 30,000 attendees last year, to a digital-only event.

Cancelled its annual I/O developer conference, which was set to take place on May 12-14 in Mountain View, California.

Microsoft

Announced it is recommending all Seattle, Pugent Sound area and San Francisco Bay Area employees who are “in a job that can be done from home should do so through March 25.”

Company president Brad Smith also said it’ll continue to pay its hourly campus workers their regular wages even if their work hours are reduced.

Warned investors that revenue in the business segment that includes its Windows operating system and Surface devices would likely miss earlier forecasts.

Twitter

Pulled out of SXSW where CEO Jack Dorsey was to have given a keynote address.

Suspended all non-critical business travel and events for employees.

Instructed all employees to start working from home.

Dorsey had originally planned to spend a few months in Africa in 2020 but said that he’s re-evaluating those plans in light of the coronavirus.

Amazon

Removed thousands of items from merchants for price gouging.

Said an employee at its Seattle headquarters has coronavirus and is now in quarantine.

Told Seattle area employees to work from home if possible until the end of March.

Withdrew from the SXSW conference and festivals.

Airbnb

Will allow guests to cancel reservations without penalty if they’ve booked in China through April 1 or if they’ve booked in South Korea through March 9.

Uber

Temporarily suspended roughly 240 user accounts in Mexico to prevent the spread of coronavirus after those users had come in contact with two drivers possibly exposed to the virus.

Lyft

Lyft is encouraging employees at its San Francisco headquarters to work from home this week after one team member was found to have been in contact with someone who was exposed to the coronavirus. The ride-share company confirmed the news on March 5.

Tesla

Closed its new plant in Shanghai for a planned week and a half after the Chinese government told private companies to temporarily cease operations.

Warned investors that the shutdown may slightly affect first-quarter profits.

Industry events cancelled amidst coronavirus outbreak

Several prominent industry events were cancelled or revamped because of concerns over the coronavirus. They include:

  • Mobile World Congress, an annual industry gathering that had been scheduled to open on Feb. 24 in Barcelona.
  • Facebook’s March marketing summit and its  F8 developer conference.
  • The Geneva Motor Show, one of the largest car shows of the year, after the Swiss government banned all events of 1,000 people or more.
  • The annual Adobe Summit in Las Vegas. Instead, the company says some content will be offered online.
  • Google I/O, the company’s biggest event of the year, where the tech giant announces its newest products and initiatives.

Also, the annual Game Developers Conference, originally scheduled to take place March 16 to 20 in San Francisco, has been postponed to an unspecified date after exhibitors such as Amazon, Microsoft, Epic Games, Sony, EA and Facebook dropped out.