The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has spread to more countries with more infections being reported outside of China. According to Reuters, three-quarters of the new infections are being reported from outside China, and fears over the economic impact of virus have led to a bloodbath on stock markets across the world.
One industry, which is seeing a major impact due to the coronavirus outbreak is the world of technology, with cancellation of major events like the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2020, and a revised outlook by many of the major firms, including Apple and Microsoft. Here’s a look at what some of the major tech companies have announced regarding the recent outbreak.
Microsoft issued a statement saying it was monitoring the impact of the coronavirus emergency and that it would be revising its third quarter of 2020. Microsoft had estimated a quarterly revenue guidance in the Personal Computing segment between $10.75 and $11.15 billion. The company says it does not expect the meet this guidance.
According to the company, while they see strong Windows demand, the supply chain “is returning to normal operations at a slower pace than anticipated”. Both Windows OEM and Surface are more negatively impacted than previously anticipated, according to a statement from the company.
Microsoft also announced that it was pulling out Game Developers Conference. The event is scheduled for March 16 – March 20. Microsoft will now switch to digital-only event from March 16 to March 18, with livestreaming sessions planned for game developers.
Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that factories in China, which manufacture the company’s products like iPhones, Macs, were reopening. He made the comments during an interview with Fox Business, where he added that China was getting the “coronavirus under control.”
“When you look at the parts that are done in China, we have reopened factories, so the factories were able to work through the conditions to reopen. They’re reopening. They’re also en-ramp, and so I think of this as sort of the third phase of getting back to normal. And we’re in phase three of the ramp mode,” he was quoted as saying, according to The Verge.
While it is true that the number of new cases in China is slowing down, Apple had earlier revised its estimates and warned that the epidemic will impact revenue in the coming quarter.
In a statement Apple said the worldwide iPhone supply will be temporarily constrained. While iPhone manufacturing units are outside the affected Hubei conference, Apple had admitted that these were “ramping up more slowly” than previously anticipated.
“The health and well-being of every person who helps make these products possible is our paramount priority, and we are working in close consultation with our suppliers and public health experts as this ramp continues. These iPhone supply shortages will temporarily affect revenues worldwide,” Apple said in its statement.
Further, Apple said the demand for its products was impacted in China, though stores have now reopened. The company will provide more information during the next earnings call in April and we will know the extent of the full impact when the next quarter results are revealed.
A Reuters report also noted that the travel restrictions come at a time when Apple engineers are headed to the region to finalise the production line for the next generation of iPhones. The report notes the timeline for the next generation of iPhones could be impacted due to the ongoing travel restrictions.
It is not just the hardware supply chain which is impacted. With the epidemic impacting China, even software updates are being delayed due to the outbreak. Smartphone maker vivo confirmed that its software updates for Android 10 were delayed due to the epidemic.
The company posted regarding this on Weibo. vivo will release its Funtouch OS 10 at the end of March for its NEX 3 series, X27 series, NEX, NEX screen fingerprint version, NEX flagship version, NEX dual-screen version, and other models, according to the post.
Xiaomi India’s product lead Sumit Sonal also blamed the coronavirus outbreak for a delay in the release of Android 10 for Mi A3. He posted on Twitter, “Over the past few days a lot of you have reached out to us regarding the pending Android 10 update on Mi A3. The update was scheduled for mid February but it has been delayed due to the extended shutdown due to the global outbreak of coronavirus.”
“At Xiaomi, business is critical but the value of human life is the topmost priority. We are working towards getting the final certification on the update and will communicate the rollout plan very soon.
I thank each one of you for your patience and continued support,” he wrote.
Facebook has cancelled its annual F8 developer conference which takes place in San Jose, California. The in-person component of F8 has been cancelled keeping the health and safety of developers in mind, according to Facebook. Facebook will have locally hosted events, videos and live-streamed content for F8. Facebook will share more details about this soon.
Nintendo is also reporting a delay in shipments of its switch consoles in Japan, due to the effect of the new coronavirus. A new Animal Crossing-themed variant is now seeing its pre-order availability pushed to an an unspecified date.
Samsung, which appeared to have escaped the worst of the impact, given much of its production is in Vietnam and India, has been forced to close one of its mobile factories in South Korea. According to Reuters, Samsung confirmed one coronavirus case at its mobile device factory complex in the southeastern city of Gumi. The entire factory has been shut down.
“The company has placed colleagues who came in contact with the infected employee in self-quarantine and taken steps to have them tested for possible infection,” Samsung said in a press release. The factory in Gumi makes high-end phones for the Korean market, according to Reuters.