Google and General Motors Co. joined Intel Corp., the world’s largest chipmaker, and Alphabet Inc.’s autonomous driving unit, Waymo, in pulling out of in-person presentations at the CES technology conference scheduled for next month.
GM said Thursday it will move to “an all-digital approach” at the annual event that has become a major venue for the unveiling of innovation in the automotive industry. The automaker will share “significant company news including the reveal of the Chevrolet Silverado EV” online during the conference, the company said in a statement.
Google said later that it made the decision to pull out after “closely monitoring the development of the omicron variant.” The decision to bypass attendance at the trade show “is the best choice for the health and safety of our teams,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement. In a blog post earlier Thursday, Google’s sister company, Waymo, also cited rising COVID-19 infection rates and said its executives would participate in virtual events.
Earlier, Intel said it would send only a small number of staff to the Las Vegas event and switch its participation to the internet, adding to a growing list of technology companies that have dropped out of in-person presentations.
“After consulting with health officials and in the spirit of Intel’s safety policy, our plans for CES will move to a digital-first, live experience, with minimal on-site staff,” Intel said in a statement.
Intel, whose processors are the heart of most of the world’s personal computers, has historically been a large participant in the annual trade show that has attracted tens of thousands of attendees from around the world.
An executive board member of Porsche AG, Barbara Frenkel, also canceled her plans to attend the conference scheduled to begin Jan. 5.
Over the past few days, exhibitors including T-Mobile US Inc. and Meta Platforms Inc. have curtailed plans to attend the gathering in person. Other high-profile attendees, such as Amazon.com Inc. and Twitter Inc., won’t be going either. The Consumer Technology Association, which runs the event, said Wednesday that the cancellations add up to less than 7 per cent of its exhibit floor. The organization said it has received 42 cancellation notices from exhibitors but that it has added 60 new ones since last week.