Intel, Lenovo and Google withdraw from CES due to Omicron surge

More major tech players have joined the list of firms pulling out or limiting their presence at Las Vegas tech mega-show CES.

Andrew Wooden

December 24, 2021

3 Min Read

More major tech players have joined the list of firms pulling out or limiting their presence at Las Vegas tech mega-show CES.

Intel said in a statement on its site that it will be limiting its presence at the show: “The health and safety of Intel employees, partners and customers is always a top priority. After consulting with health officials and in the spirit of Intel’s safety policy, Intel’s plans for CES will move to a digital-first live experience, with minimal on-site staff. Intel’s leaders encourage you to join as the company delivers all its CES content and experiences virtually via the Intel Newsroom.”

Lenovo went one further, announcing on Twitter: “CES UPDATE: After closely monitoring the current trends surrounding COVID, it is in the best interest of the health and safety of our employees, customers, partners, and our communities to suspend all on-site activity in Las Vegas.”

Google has cancelled all in-person attendance, telling Tech Crunch: “After careful consideration we have decided to withhold from having a presence on the show floor of CES 2022. We’ve been closely monitoring the development of the Omicron variant, and have decided that this is the best choice for the health and safety of our teams.”

Self-driving car outfit Waymo announced yesterday: “Based on quickly rising COVID-19 infection rates, Waymo has made the difficult decision not to participate in person at CES 2022. We are aiming to still virtually participate in some CES-related events.”

GM is also reported to have pulled out.

It’s all broadly the same sentiment – the surge in Omicron cases worldwide is causing a lot of uncertainty, and attending the largest show in tech is being seen as increasingly risky.

There’s bound to be a lot of pressure in boardrooms all over the world as to how to play this, and none of them want to be seen as being irresponsible in any way – after all when it comes to covid transmissions, what happens in Vegas will not necessarily stay in Vegas.

Earlier this week T-Mobile limited its presence and cancelled its keynote slot, and it was reported Amazon, Meta, Twitter and Pintrest would no longer be attending at all.

We made the point then that while it doesn’t look good for CES to have such well-known brands pull out, the core of CES was always the hardware vendors.

Now that we are seeing many of them also pull out, it has to be said the situation is looking increasingly dicey for CES.

However the CTA remains bullish, announcing this morning in a tweet thread: “Over 2200 companies are confirmed to participate in person at CES 2022 in Las Vegas. Our focus remains on convening the tech industry and giving those who cannot attend in person the ability to experience the magic of CES digitally.”

“Given our comprehensive health measures, coupled with lower attendance and social distancing measures, we are confident that attendees and exhibitors can have a socially distanced but worthwhile and productive event in Las Vegas, or while experiencing it online.”

With less than a fortnight to go until doors open, now it all comes down to how many of those 2200 companies follow suit these high profile cancellations, and how many plough ahead with the show.


About the Author(s)

Andrew Wooden

Andrew joins on the back of an extensive career in tech journalism and content strategy.

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