COVID-19’s Trail of Cancellations and UnderperformanceBy Alejandro Salas | Fri, 02/28/2020 - 13:14
COVID-19 is still wreaking havoc across the world and tech giants are not immune to its effects. Many international events have been cancelled in an effort to slow down contagion, impacting companies plans and results.
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COVID-19 Fears Get in the Way
Facebook cancels its main event of the year, the F8 conference in California, due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in the US. Instead, the company will make announcements of its new releases and innovations through a series of events, videos and livestreams. The company has also announced it will ban fake or misleading content related to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Microsoft joined Facebook, EA and PlayStation and pulled out from the Game Conference in San Francisco scheduled for March 16-20, also because of the COVID-19 outbreak. “The health and safety of players, developers, employees and associates worldwide are our main priority,” said the company in a statement. The company also announced it will probably fail to reach the goals set for 1Q20 due to the effects of COVID-19 on the company’s supply chain.
Huawei launched its new Mate Xs smartphone on Monday. However, the company did so through a video instead of at an event with the press. The launch was originally scheduled for the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, but the event was cancelled after companies pulled out due to COVID-19 fears.
Data Protection and Content Censorship
Facebook filed a lawsuit against data intelligence company oneAudience after realizing that the company had installed a malware to “inappropriately” collect personal information from Facebook users.
Experts say that the austerity measures implemented by President López Obrador’s administration impacted the country’s response to hacker attacks like those suffered by PEMEX and the Ministry of Economy. “Vulnerability in the government is ever greater,” said Agustín Palacios, Director of Veritas.
The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in favor of Google on a recent lawsuit. The conservative ONG PragerU filed a claim against Google for censoring the ONG’s content on YouTube. However, Google claimed YouTube was a private forum, not a public one subject to the First Amendment’s restrictions.
Space tourism hopeful Virgin Galactic reports losses of almost US$500 million leading to a drop in stocks of 19 percent. Still, Richard Branson keeps betting on the sector and expects to soon be one of the first passengers in the first space tourism flight.
Panasonic cancelled its partnership with Tesla on solar panel manufacturing. The Japanese firm will continue distributing panels but under its own brand and distributors as part of a strategy to optimize its solar energy operations worldwide.
Ricardo Sheffield, Head of PROFECO, harshly criticized Alibaba during President López Obrador’s morning conference, saying the company does not follow Mexican regulation. “The company does not pay attention to our laws, our consumption habits and do not even have their prices in Mexican pesos,” he said.