Most of the world is in lockdown. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infected more than 185,000 individuals worldwide. Citizens are coming to terms that the way their lifestyle will never be the same, at least for the coming future. Economies are tanking, and tech firms are not spared from the brunt of the pandemic.
During the early stage of the outbreak, Apple responded by closing all of its stores in China. Today, the reverse is happening as Apple has reopened all of its outlets in China only to shut down stores across the world.
Apple’s production of its iPhones is also disrupted as its manufacturer, Foxconn, closed down during the outbreak in China. This inadvertently affects Apple’s financial forecast as the tech giant couldn’t ship out enough units to the market.
In light of the pandemic, Apple has also stepped up its restriction on COVID-19 related apps submitted to the App Store. Games based on the coronavirus are banned. Only apps developed by recognized health organizations are approved.
Facebook was not spared from the coronavirus that gripped the world. On March 6, the social media giant shuts down both its London and Singapore office, as its employees were tested positive for COVID-19. In late February, Facebook has canceled its annual software developer conference, F8, and encouraged its employees to work from home.
Amidst the frantic search for coronavirus-related information, Google has been redirecting related searches to WHO and removes content that is not backed by medical evidence. It has also placed a blanket ban on face mask ads. Google’s annual developer conference, I/O, was also canceled due to the coronavirus scare.
Despite the breeze in online sales, Amazon has been clamping out hard at misleading products claimed to cure COVID-19. Millions of products have been removed from Amazon’s listing. The online retailer has introduced an ‘Unattended Delivery’ for Prime Now, Amazon Fresh, and Whole Food Markets for customers who prefer not to be in direct contact during delivery.
While the tech giants are fine-tuning operations to cope with the pandemic, the ripple from the surge in coronavirus cases is disrupting the entire tech industry. The anticipated E3 gaming show, initially scheduled in June 2020, is canceled as the pandemic is still gathering pace. The organizer is hoping to provide an alternative experience for participants and potential attendees.
The RSA conference, which proceeds despite the increase of cases in the US, has seen at least two infected attendees at the moment of writing. Major exhibitors like IBM and Verizon pulled out from the event in a precautionary step that paid off.
At the moment, the apparent impact of the coronavirus seems to be the slew of event cancellation. Other notable events that have joined the list are the Mobile World Congress, Geneva Motor Show, Adobe Summit, and NVIDIA’s GPU Technology Conference.
However, tech firms are now bracing for nosediving revenues, which could lead to massive layoffs as economies are slowly grinding to a halt.