Microsoft is the latest big name to drop plans to be physically present at CES 2022 in January as the US frets about another major COVID-19 wave brought-on by the rapidly spreading Omicron variant.
The Windows-maker issued a brief statement to the media, citing the latest data on coronavirus transmission in the US. Instead, Microsoft is planning digital press kits for the event.
“After reviewing the latest data on the rapidly evolving COVID environment, Microsoft has decided not to participate in-person at CES 2022,” a company spokesperson said (via The Verge).
The fall of yet another large exhibitor casts further doubt over whether the annual tech expo will (our should) go ahead. Microsoft has joined Amazon, General Motors, Google, Intel, Lenovo, Meta, T-Mobile (a major CES sponsor no-less) and Twitter among the major absentees. In total, around 50 exhibitors have dropped out of the show.
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All of the exhibitors who’ve decided against attending have cited concerns over COVID, as the situation worsens in the US once again. Omicron is already accounting for upwards of 70% of cases in the United States and tens of thousands of people from all over the country and the world gathering in Las Vegas exhibition halls probably doesn’t seem like the smartest idea in the world right now.
Major CES staples like Sony, LG and Samsung are still planning to be present at CES 2022, at the time of writing, with the latter “closely monitoring” the situation.
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CES 2020 was one of the last major events before the COVID-enforced shutdown of all large gatherings. CES 2021 was canceled six months before it was supposed to happen. We all did just fine with “all-digital experience” last year.
Given thousands of people from around the world are currently making plans to attend the show, including members of our own team here at Trusted Reviews, the Consumer Technology Association will now be under pressure to make a timely announcement about the status of the event.