Tech stocks aren’t the only things falling because of coronavirus fears — At least five tech conferences were canceled this week due to risks associated with COVID-19, and several more were hit with the loss of major participants.
The biggest cancellation was Facebook Inc.’s
developer conference, F8, that was to take place in San Jose, Calif., on May 5-6. On Thursday, the company blamed “growing concerns” about the outbreak, and said it would still stream videos and other content in lieu of hosting the two-day event. Earlier this month, Facebook abandoned a global marketing event in San Francisco scheduled for next week.
Google division on Friday canceled its Google News Initiative Global Summit due to the “coronavirus situation,” according to Richard Gingras, vice president of news at Google. The event was to be held at Google’s Sunnyvale, Calif., office on April 22-23, where hundreds of media industry members were set to attend. Google currently intends to hold its Google Cloud Next ‘20 conference in San Francisco, April 6-8, and Google I/O 2020 developer conference in Mountain View, Calif., on May 12-14.
on Thursday said it is skipping the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco because of coronavirus fears and will instead stream its content for the show. Activision Blizzard Inc.
on Friday announced via Twitter it is “asking employees not to attend this year’s Game Developers Conference” because of COVID-19 concerns. Epic and Unity have also dropped out. GDC organizers said the show is still scheduled to go on March 16-20. Microsoft’s Build conference in Seattle, May 19-21, remains on the schedule.
Smaller shows also went by the wayside. Shopify Inc.’s
annual Unite developer show, scheduled for May 6-9 in Toronto, was canceled on Friday. On Wednesday, Workday Inc.
pulled the plug on an internal sales conference in Orlando, Fla., set for next week that was expected to draw more than 3,000 people.
One of the largest tech shows, the GSM Association’s Mobile World Congress smartphone trade show, was canceled for late February in Barcelona out of COVID-19 fears. The RSA security conference took place in San Francisco this week, but AT&T Inc.
and International Business Machines Corp.