Facebook today announced that it has canceled its F8 developer conference that was set to take place at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California on May 5 and 6.In a statement, Facebook said that given “growing concerns” about COVID-19, the in-person component of F8 has been nixed. Instead of F8, Facebook is planning locally hosted events, videos, and live streamed content.
This was a tough call to make – F8 is an incredibly important event for Facebook and it’s one of our favorite ways to celebrate all of you from around the world – but we need to prioritize the health and safety of our developer partners, employees and everyone who helps put F8 on. We explored other ways to keep the in-person part of F8, but it’s important to us to host an inclusive event and it didn’t feel right to have F8 without our international developers in attendance.
F8 is an event that’s on the same scale as Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, and last year, it attracted 5,000 attendees. It was also set to take place on May 5 and 6, which is just about a month ahead of when Apple is likely planning to host WWDC 2020 at the same venue. Whether Apple is considering a similar cancelation remains to be seen as WWDC is a month later, but with F8 canceled, there’s a possibility.For the last few years, Apple’s WWDC events have been held at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in early June. No concrete dates or clear indications of when the event will take place have been discovered as of yet this year, but based on past event dates, we believe June 8 to 12 is the most likely week for WWDC 2020.
The coronavirus outbreak has already caused the cancellation of major events. Mobile World Congress, a huge trade show event that takes place in Barcelona each February, was shut down. The annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco is coming up in March and thus far, many major game companies have dropped out such as Sony, Unity, Microsoft, Kojima Productions, Facebook, and EA.
Despite the dropouts, GDC is “moving forward as planned,” even though a state of emergency has been declared in San Francisco. Last year, GDC had close to 30,000 people in attendance. Pax East, another gaming convention that kicked off today, also saw many gaming companies drop out, but the event went forward.
Other events around the world are also being canceled due to coronavirus fears. The Geneva watch show (April 25-28) was canceled, according to Bloomberg, as was an event that Swatch planned to hold in February. The Baselworld trade fair (April 30 – May5) is also said to be mulling a cancellation.
Apple in mid-February said that its March quarter revenue will fall short of expectations due to device supply shortages and store closures in China caused by the coronavirus. Apple CEO Tim Cook says that Apple’s “paramount concern” is its employees, partners, customers, and suppliers in China and its first priority is the health and safety of employees, customers, supply chain partners, and the communities in which it operates.
Apple has also said that it is closely monitoring the coronavirus situation.
COVID-19 has infected more than 82,000 people and there have been over 2,800 deaths, primarily in China. Earlier this week, the CDC warned Americans that it expects the virus to spread in the United States, and just yesterday, UC Davis announced that it is treating a patient in Northern California who is the first person in the U.S. believed to have contracted the virus from community exposure.