Another year, another giant tech trade show that looks like it’s falling apart as the COVID-19 pandemic continues – now Mike Sievert, CEO of T-Mobile, one of the featured speakers at the Consumer Electronics Show, has publicly announced that his company will not be present at the largest electronics fair in the world next month. Amazon has also decided not to attend the show in person, according to Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman.
I’m sorry we’ll miss everyone at CES this year, but we’re prioritizing the safety of our team and other attendees.
Our statement here: https://t.co/WAIkFYMzc7
— Mike Sievert (@MikeSievert) December 22, 2021
“T-Mobile will continue to be a CES sponsor and title sponsor of the DRL Championship Race, but the vast majority of our team will not be traveling to Las Vegas,” the company’s press release reads. “In addition, Mike Sievert, CEO of T-Mobile, will no longer be offering a keynote in person or virtually.”
Other companies that could have a significant impact if they ditched CES 2022 include Samsung and GM, who also had keynotes, and companies that generally rent a lot of prominent space on the show floor, such as Intel, LG, Panasonic and Sony. We now ask large companies if they are still committed; a representative from Sony suggested to us that the company still plans to be in attendance earlier today, and LG said that “unless CTA says otherwise,” it’s “still on board.” LG won’t have a traditional booth, though, as it’s said to use QR codes and AR to showcase its wares.
Bloomberg reports that AMD and Samsung still plan a limited attendance, Nvidia will hold a virtual keynote, and Qualcomm, OnePlus and HTC still plan to attend. Sony, Samsung and Google are all listed as “checking local conditions”, which can be read as a meaningless platitude, but it also gives these companies an easy way out if they decide that circumstances have changed.
This morning, the Consumer Technology Association, which runs CES, said it still plans to host a personal show. “Right now we’re very focused on having this show and doing it safely and putting the right protocols in place to make sure people are comfortable with it,” a CTA exec told me. Adweek.
In the recent past, we’ve seen the question “will they cancel or not due to COVID” for a while. Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the first major tech show to take place after the COVID-19 pandemic initially hit, held up for quite some time, even as partners continued to cancel. In the end, the organizers had to cancel MWC 2020. Major tech companies have also ditched the personal version of MWC 2021. CES 2021, on the other hand, was all virtual.
Update, 8:41 PM ET: Additional business answers added via Bloomberg.
Update, 10:09 PM ET: Added information about Amazon and LG.