The Coronavirus outbreak is spreading all over the world and scares governments and companies who take the requisite measures to prevent its spread. This medical and social issue is not without implications for the Tech world which is suffering from this disease as well.
The Coronavirus (or COVID-19) is already on everybody’s mind, and for good reason: the virus has already killed several thousand people worldwide and is starting to spread all over the globe.
Despite a mortality rate of about 3 percent, no vaccine or wonder cure, and rapid spread, the Coronavirus is alarming and often calling for drastic action. Outcome? All business sectors are affected, including the world of Tech.
Travel is restricted, production chains are reduced or even closed temporarily, containment measures are introduced … The very definition of globalization reveals its limits here, with many limitations impacting even undertakings not actually directly impacted by the epidemic.
Some have also immediately allowed their workers to operate remotely from home to prevent as much as possible physical contact and thereby potential contagions.
Let’s take stock of the various impacts Coronavirus has had on the Tech world.
CANCELLED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS: FAIRS and CONFERENCES
In order to prevent needless pollution, it is better not to fly abroad but also to prevent too large gatherings. These two things, you’ll realize, are the main elements of a successful product launch or any conference.
Many Tech conferences, in effect, have been canceled, and it is not over. The MWC 2020, which was the first officially affected on such a large scale, is definitely one of the most emblematic.
It also disintegrated in tiny touches, the exhibitors canceling their arrival before the GSMA, the organization that organized the series, ended up totally canceling what looked like a ghost congress already.
However, brands quickly rebounded and many still held their conferences thanks to the magic of streaming on the internet, producing some distracting scenes at the same time, such as the blanks left by Mitsuya Kishida (Sony) to respond to an audience that doesn’t exist or even the echo of Richard Yu’s (Huawei) announcements in a room that’s supposed to be completely empty. Still, there are advertising And some even arranged local events to give the press leverage over the products.
After that, the cancellations continued. Here is a list of events canceled due to Coronavirus:
- Adobe summit
- Apple event in March?
- Computex (postponed to September)
- Dell Technologies World
- Disney + (launch in Europe)
- E3 2020
- EmTech Asia
- Facebook F8
- Facebook Global Marketing Summit
- Game Developers Conference
- Google I / O
- Google News Initiative Global Summit
- Google Next Cloud
- Huawei P40 (presentation in Paris)
- IBM Think
- Microsoft Build
- Microsoft MVP Summit
- MWC 2020
- Nvidia GTC
- Geneva International Motor Show
- Workday Sales Kickoff
Even the physical groupings are canceled for some of those conferences, replaced by live broadcasts. Apple has yet to talk about its WWDC that is usually in June.
Other product presentations, besides these major fairs, are also canceled, postponed or transformed into online reruns. Hence, most of the year’s preparation may be delayed, including the New York auto show, which normally takes place in April and is delayed to August.
DELAYS AND RESULTS FINANCIAL TO HALF MAST
Many Tech companies have been affected by the Coronavirus for their announcements but also for their production, we imagine. For example, some brands have canceled their launches altogether, postponing them until further notice. Therefore we are without news of certain products which we could expect at the beginning of the year.
The reason for this is simple: most production plants are located in China (country of Coronavirus appearance) and are completely or partially closed. Therefore, in the absence of reliable visibility on the stocks available in the short and medium-term, some prefer waiting before announcing any product.
Even though production is often relocated to another country (especially in Vietnam) the devices expected this spring is likely to be delayed or in very limited stocks. For example, Samsung and LG have been forced to close factories in South Korea, which will, among other things, affect the production of the Galaxy S20 and Z Flip.
However, it would appear that the manufacturer is managing to maintain all of its pre-orders, except for those related to the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 512 Go.
We can cite in a non-exhaustive manner among the devices expected at the beginning of the year and which could be affected by the coronavirus:
- iPhone 9
- the OnePlus 8
- the Google Pixel 4a
- Xiaomi Mi 10 (still not announced in Europe)
The video games world, too, is affected. While the Switch sales are slowing, some developers announce postponements for health reasons for their games. In Model 3 deliveries, Tesla also announced delays. In short, there’s no sector to spare.
There are several consequences for those cascading delays and cancellations. If we forget the little Timmy who will not have his birthday present in due time, businesses, they are already provident in warning investors not to expect exceptional results over the period.
If the COVID-19 epidemic were to continue, it could also postpone or question certain launches at the end of the year. We’re thinking in particular of the iPhone 12, the Google Pixel 5, or Sony and Microsoft’s future game consoles, the PS5 and the Xbox Series X, which were originally expected to end the year.
CORONAVIRUS MAY RAISE PRICES
Of course, you know the supply and demand principle. Some stores have closed (Apple, Samsung, Google, and even Microsoft have closed down their stores in China) and there are limited production chains. There’s no longer any doubt that production will be limited even for the successful products and so will the stocks.
So we can expect this to affect pricing policies. For example, a Samsung Galaxy S20 could decode much faster than usual, while some volatile price components may see their prices rising to unprecedented heights. Especially memory and graphics cards suffer a lot from variations in the market. If you were hoping to build a PC in the near future, your budget might need to be reconsidered.
Waiting for the new generation of graphics cards could already save you from having to postpone your purchase by planning storage space now.
THE SIDE EFFECTS
Finally, remember that malicious minds are always there to enjoy an exceptional event. While the game developer Plague Inc. felt compelled to point out that his game was not a scientific study of virus spread, others took advantage of the climate of fear to spread malware.
However, this global test brought up a couple of solidarity bursts, including from companies. For example, Free has considerably increased its plan’s data to 2 euros to allow everyone to easily follow the news and stay connected to the world. Companies offering teleworking tools, such as Microsoft or Google, also offer the costs of using their software for a temporary period by this, non-compulsory professional gatherings are reduced.
The Coronavirus has taken on a scale, as you can see, that affects absolutely every sector. And in a world where Tech is at the core of almost everything, it is clear that in many ways the year 2020 will be turned upside down. And yet, it’s far from over …