Update: CTA president Gary Shapiro provided the following updated statement to TechCrunch:
More than 2200 companies have been confirmed to attend CES 2022 in Las Vegas in person. Our focus remains on bringing the tech industry together and giving those who couldn’t attend in person the ability to experience the magic of CES digitally. CES 2022 will provide an opportunity for companies large and small from around the world to launch their products, build brands and form partnerships. CES’ comprehensive sanitation measures – the need for vaccination, the need for masking and the availability of COVID-19 testing – combined with lower attendance and social distancing measures are confident that attendees and attendees can have a socially distanced yet valuable and productive event in Las Vegas or while experiencing it online.
Today started with big news from Lenovo, followed by Waymo and Intel. Now, it seems like Google has completely removed itself from its in-person presence at CES. A spokesperson for the company told TechCrunch:
After careful consideration, we have decided not to take part in the show floor of CES 2022. We are closely monitoring the development of the Omicron variant and have determined that it is the best choice for the health and safety of our teams. . We will continue to work closely with both the CTA and our partners to identify and support virtual opportunities, and we look forward to sharing the latest Google innovations with you all.
Given previous news from Alphabet subsidiary Waymo, Google’s decision to lean towards a virtual presence isn’t entirely surprising. Still, it’s become a pillar of support in recent years as the software giant gradually expands its hardware footprint through its Nest series of home products and Pixel phones. For the past few years, Google’s complex outdoor exhibits have been a mainstay of the Las Vegas Convention Center Parking Lot.
As of yesterday, the show’s governing body, the CTA, remains steadfast in its decision to resume the event into early January, even as big-name losses continue to mount. The list of companies staying away from Vegas over Omicron concerns now includes a number of media outlets, including T-Mobile, AT&T, Meta, Twitter, Amazon, TikTok, and Pinterest, as well as TechCrunch.
In light of this latest news, we’ve reached the CTA – tough news for a long holiday weekend. At the time of the organization’s final comment, cancellations amounted to 42 cancellations, accounting for roughly 7% of the exhibition floor. There’s no doubt that that number has changed since the last report, as both major players and newcomers alike are starting to rethink their presence on the show.
No one wants to be the first big company to remove themselves from an event, but the parallels with MWC’s cancellation in the early days of the pandemic are becoming increasingly difficult to come by. Such a rapid succession of big-name losses tends to lead to even more.