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Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, T-Mobile drop CES plans over Covid-19 concern

Amazon Inc, Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc, Twitter Inc, and Pinterest Inc all said on Tuesday they will not send teams to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next month as concerns grow about the Omicron coronavirus variant. Amazon and its smart-home unit Ring said that they would not have an on-site presence at CES due to the fast-changing situation and uncertainty over the Omicron variant, Bloomberg News reported late on Tuesday.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request from Reuters for comment outside business hours. U.S. wireless carrier and conference sponsor T-Mobile also said the vast majority of its contingent would no longer be going and that its chief executive would not be delivering a keynote speech in person or virtually.

The other companies had not planned large in-person gatherings at the show. “While we are confident that CES organizers are taking exhaustive measures to protect in-person attendees, we are prioritizing the safety of our team and other attendees with this decision,” T-Mobile said.

CES in the past has attracted more than 180,000 people from around the world to a sprawling set of casinos and convention spaces in Las Vegas, serving as an annual showcase of new trends and gadgets in the technology industry. The Consumer Technology Association, which runs CES, said on Tuesday that the show is going ahead from Jan. 5 to Jan. 8. Health precautions will include vaccination requirements, masking, and the availability of COVID-19 tests, the association said.

Twitter had planned to have some employees attend to participate in panels. Both Twitter and Facebook said they are now exploring virtual opportunities. Pinterest, before canceling, had planned a scaled-down meeting area for its sales and partner teams from years past.

Many companies including Qualcomm Inc, Sony Electronics, and Alphabet Inc’s Google and self-driving vehicle unit Waymo have said they are going ahead with plans to attend and show off new hardware or host meetings. General Motors Co said on Tuesday that Chief Executive Mary Barra is still scheduled to introduce the U.S. automaker’s electric Silverado pickup truck and discuss company strategy in person at the conference on Jan. 5.

Other companies had long ago planned for virtual presences, among them chipmaker Nvidia Corp, which is having two executives deliver a keynote address by video. Devidiscourse

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