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The Impact of the Coronavirus on Tech

Posted March 11th, 2020 in safety, tech

The coronavirus seems to be the only thing we're talking about. Surprisingly, it is even hitting the tech industry. Keep reading to see how the virus has impacted you - or even your MSP. 

coronavirus and tech

 

Everyone is being affected by the coronavirus - even tech and MSP companies. 

It seems like all we're hearing about is the coronavirus and what havoc it is creating everywhere, for example the tech industry. 

Many companies have shut factories down, banned business-related travel, and cancelled major industry events (ex, Facebook's F8, Google I/O). 

 

Cyber health is as important as your physical health. Check out some of the most important cyber attacks. 

 

As you are most likely aware, the virus originated from the Wuhan region in China last year that had symptoms like pneumonia. Scientists linked the disease to a family of viruses (including SARS and MERS). So far, 3,200+ people have died and 94,000+ people have been affected in 60+ countries. 

 

Here are a few examples of how the virus is affecting big names in the tech industry. 

 

Airbnb

  • Allowing guests to cancel reservations without penalty if they've booked a trip in China through April 9 or if they've booked a trip to South Korea through March 9. 

Amazon

  • Removed 1 million+ listing for items that claim to cure or defend against the coronavirus. 
  • Removed thousands of items from merchants for price gouging.
  • An employee at Seattle headquarters tested positive for SARS-CoV-2; is now in quarantine. 
  • Seattle employees are encouraged to work from home.
  • Withdrew from the SXSW festival. 

Cloudflare

  • Offering Cloudflare for Teams to small businesses that have been affected by the coronavirus for free for 6 months. Has helped launch in an industry effort to support small organizations. 
  • Letting employees in affected regions work remotely. 

Dell

  • Told attendees of 2020 tech conference that it will be moved to a virtual setting. Keynotes and some sessions will be moved to be online.

Facebook

  • Cancelled F8 developer conference - their biggest event of the year. This event usually updated the world on developments and challenges of the platform. The event will hold local gatherings for developers and online events instead. 
  • Reduced travel to China for employees.
  • Cancelled the marketing summit that was expected to draw 4,000+ people.
  • Giving the WHO free ads to provide health info.
  • Expects delays for the production of Oculus VR headset.
  • Banned ads that promote a cure to the coronavirus.
  • Withdrew from the SXSW festival.
  • Announced that a contractor in Seattle tested positive for the virus. 
  • Closed Seattle office until March 9; employees being encouraged to work from home until at least March 31. 

Foxconn

  • Told employees not to come to work at the offices located in China until further notice. 
  • Plans to have factories operating at normal capacity by the end of the month. 

Google

  • Closing all offices in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan temporarily. 
  • Restricted all business travel to China and Hong Kong. 
  • Employees have been told if they have family returning from China to work from home for at least 2 weeks. 
  • Have kept European offices open - even though an employee in Zurich was diagnosed. 
  • Cancelled the Google News Initiative Summit that was scheduled in April in California. 
  • Changed the annual cloud conference to a digital-only event.
  • Will continue to pay hourly employees who can't do their job remotely.
  • Cancelled annual I/O developer conference that was going to happen in May in California. 
  • Google is restricting visitors to offices in New York City and San Francisco, cancelling in-person interviews, and telling Korean and Japanese employees to work from home. 
  • Announced that a COVID-19 fund to cover paid sick leave for all temporary staff and vendors around the globe who have potential symptoms/can't come in to work due to quarantine. 
  • Recommending all North American employees work from home. 

IBM

  • Encouraging employees who live and work in New York City or Westchester County to work from home until further notice if their job allows. 

Lyft

  • Encouraging San Francisco employees to work from home after one employee was found to be in contact with someone who was exposed to the virus. 

Microsoft

  • Recommending that employees located in Seattle and San Francisco Bay who are "in a job that can be done from home should do so through March 25." They will continue to pay hourly campus workers at regular wages even if their hours are reduced. 
  • Warned investors that revenue in business segment (Windows OS and Surface devices) would likely miss forecasts. 

Nintendo

  • Production of Switch handset is seeing some impact from the virus. 

Salesforce

  • All employees based in Seattle, Kirkland, and Bellevue to work from home for the rest of the month.

Tesla

  • Closed the new plant in Shanghai for 1.5 weeks after the government told private companies to cease operations temporarily. 
  • Warned investors that this shutdown might affect the first-quarter profits.

TikTok

  • Withdrew from the SXSW festival. 

Twitter

  • Pulled out of SXSW - CEO would have given a keynote address. 
  • Suspended all non-critical business travel and events for employees.
  • Asked employees to work from home. 
  • Seattle office closed for deep cleaning after an employee was advised by their doctor that they probably have COVID-19. The employee hasn't returned to the office yet. 
  • Will keep paying hourly workers who aren't able to do their job remotely. 

Uber

  • Suspended close to 240 user accounts temporarily in Mexico to prevent the spread of the virus after users who encountered 2 drivers were potentially exposed. 

 

Industry Events

Many tech industry events have been cancelled or revamped due to concerns over the coronavirus. Some of these include:

 

  • Mobile World Congress - an annual industry gathering.
  • F8 developer conference - Facebook's marketing summit.
  • Geneva Motor Show.
  • Adobe Summit - some content will be offered online.
  • Google I/O - where newest products and initiatives are announced.
  • GPU Technology Conference - hosted by Nvidia; will be a digital-only event. 
  • Snap Partner Summit - the parent company of Snapchat; will be an online-only event. 
  • Game Developers Conference - has been postponed to an unspecified date after many exhibitors dropped out (ex, Amazon, EA, Epic Games, Facebook, Microsoft, Sony). 
  • Cybersecurity RSA Conference - major exhibitors dropped out (ex, IBM, AT&T). 

 

As you can see the coronavirus is not only affecting individuals, governments, or businesses, but also industries - in this case the tech industry. 

In our case at Reis, we have noticed that supplies of products from the above companies have been in low supply.

 

Hopefully you have been able to learn a little bit about how the tech industry is being affected and we hope that you will stay safe and healthy. 

 

Have comments or questions? Use the section below. 

 

Looking to get some reading done? Check out our tech reading list. 

Read our 2019 Tech Reading List

 

Sources

German, Kent & Morse, Andrew. (2020). The Coronavirus impact: Here's how COVID-19 has affected the tech industry. Retrieved MArch 11, 2020 from, https://www.cnet.com/news/the-coronavirus-impact-heres-how-covid-19-has-affected-the-tech-industry/