GM, Google, Lenovo, Intel, T-Mobile, AT&T, Meta, Twitter, Amazon, TikTok, Pinterest and now Microsoft. The software giant just got the newest big name to announce that it will no longer be attending CES in person in less than two weeks.
“The health and well-being of our employees are our top priority,” the company said in a statement to TechCrunch. “After reviewing the latest data on the rapidly evolving COVID environment, Microsoft has decided not to attend CES 2022 in person. We will continue our digital CES plans in both the Microsoft Partner Innovation Experience and the Automotive Press Kit, where we highlight the latest devices, solutions and innovations from our partners. We look forward to continuing to participate remotely. “
What has been billed as a return to form for the consumer electronics industry after nearly two years of virtual shows has quickly lost momentum in the last week as concerns about the Omicron variant – coupled with a possible surge in vacation travel – continue to mount.
The CES Board of Directors, the CTA, stands firm in its decision to continue the physical show as planned. Last night, the organization reached out to TechCrunch with a fresh comment from its president, Gary Shapiro, who was hot on the heels of quick announcements from Google and General Motors.
Over 2,200 companies are confirmed to attend CES 2022 in Las Vegas in person. Our focus remains on bringing the tech industry together and giving those who cannot attend in person the opportunity to digitally experience the magic of CES. CES 2022 offers companies large and small from around the world the opportunity to bring products to market, build brands, and form partnerships. With CES’s comprehensive health measures – mandatory vaccination, masking, and availability of COVID-19 tests – coupled with lower attendance and social distancing measures, we’re confident that attendees and exhibitors will be hosting a socially distant but rewarding and productive event in Las Vegas or while you experience it online.
An earlier statement by the company made two days earlier stated that the withdrawals had only impacted about 7% of the exhibitor space. The CTA has not yet provided updated figures in light of some rapid extractions by large corporations as well as smaller startups that have chosen to exercise similar caution.
A number of large companies appear ready to continue their personal participation right now, including Samsung, LG, BMW, Qualcomm, and Sony.