The virus which was discovered in the Wuhan region of China’s Hubei province last year 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 at the time of writing this article has caused over 4,000 deaths and more than 100,000 reported cases in over 110 countries.
Events like Facebook’s F8, Google I/O, Geneva Motor Show, Mobile World Congress, and many others have been cancelled due to the spread of the coronavirus. Many companies have shut down their factories and banned business-related travels to and from countries highly affected by the virus.
The BIG 5 (Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, and Alphabet – Parent company of Google) have collectively lost more than $238billion in value as at the week ending (8th March 2020) due to the virus.
Below are some specific drawbacks caused by the virus within global tech industries.
Facebook’s F8 Conference the company’s biggest event of the year at which CEO Mark Zuckerberg updates the world on Facebook’s developments and challenges will hold local gatherings for developers and online events instead.
Facebook has also banned employees from Nonessential travel to China in an attempt to contain the novel coronavirus being amongst the first major technology company known to take this action. Employees from Facebook must get “specific” approvals before they are allowed to travel.
Office in Seattle has been closed after a worker tested Positive for Coronavirus. The tech company is currently encouraging employees to work from home at least until 31st March.
To help quickly spread awareness, Facebook has given the World Health Organization (WHO) free ads in other to provide health information and have also banned ads that promise a cure for the virus.
Apple temporarily shut down all its stores in mainland China, one of its biggest and most important markets and this includes all its corporate offices as well as their contact centre to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The shutdown of offices has also put Apple in a fix as they seek other alternates for parts to their gadgets as most suppliers come from Wuhan. Reports from Apple and other research firms have predicted a miss from their quarterly revenue by the end of March 2020.
Google employees in the Seattle area have also been asked to work remotely if they can while their offices in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan have being temporarily close to avoid further spread of the virus. Google will continue to pay hourly workers who cannot do their jobs remotely.
Restrictions have also been placed on business travels to China and Hong Kong while visitors to its New York City and San Francisco Bay Area offices have been advised to postpone their visits. Also, all in-person job interviews have been cancelled.
Google’s New Initiative Summit scheduled for late April in California and the Annual I/O Developer Conference have also been cancelled until further notice.
Microsoft has recommended all its Seattle and San Francisco Bay Area employees who can work from home to do so through 25th March to curtail the spread.
The firm has also warned investors that revenue in some of its business segments would likely miss earlier forecasts. The segments include Windows Operating System and Surface Devices Manufacturing.
Twitter has suspended all non-critical business travels and events for all its employees while instructing them to work remotely.
Seattle, Washington holds critical offices of most tech giants in the states and twitter is indifferent thus the announcement to close its offices in that region and undertake a deep cleaning exercise.
The actions taken by twitter would not affect the hourly pay of all its workers and that includes those who cannot perform remotely as reported by the firm.
Amazon also informed all its Seattle area employees to work from home if possible until the end of March. Any eCommerce firm would naturally be faced with sellers either increasing prices or selling fake products to make profits in these hard times.
The firm has also, removed more than 1 million listings for items that claim to cure or defend against the novel coronavirus and also removed thousands of merchants that partake in item price squeezing.
Other Tech Firms
- Dell has reportedly told attendees of its 2020 tech conference that it’s been moved to “a virtual setting” due to coronavirus concerns.
- 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.
- 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.
- Nintendo reportedly said the production of its popular Switch handset in China was “seeing some impact from the coronavirus.”
- IBM tweeted March 9 it’s encouraging employees who live and work in New York City or Westchester County to work from home until further notice if their job permits.
- Chipmaker Nvidia decided to make its GPU Technology Conference, typically held in San Jose and attracting an audience of about 10,000 people, a digital-only event with a webcast planned March 24.
- 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.
This story will be continuously updated.