The FINANCIAL — Facebook announced that its annual developer conference, F8, will be canceled due to coronavirus fears. Instead of the F8 event the company would organize “a combo of locally hosted events, videos and live streamed content. Apple usually announces the dates for its WWDC events in March ahead of the conference itself typically held in June, but there are chances that company will cancel it.
Last year more than 5,000 developers, creators and entrepreneurs from around the world came together for F8, annual conference about the future of technology. But this year Facebook made an announcement about cancelling event. In a statement Facebook said: “Every year, we look forward to connecting with our global developer community at F8 and sharing our vision for the future that we’re building together. But given the growing concerns around COVID-19, we’ve made the difficult decision to cancel the in-person component of F8 2020.”
The cancellation highlights how COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, is causing increasingly widespread disruption and uncertainty for major businesses as it continues to spread across the globe. The outbreak has infected more than 81,000 people and killed more than 2,700, mostly in China. US health officials warned on Tuesday that a COVID-19 outbreak in the US is inevitable. Facebook’s announcement follows the cancellations of other high-profile conferences this month. Workday on Wednesday announced the cancellation of its March 2 sales conference, and the Mobile World Congress, the largest trade show for mobile phones, was canceled last week, USA Today reported.
Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, Facebook’s director of platform partnerships, said that instead of the F8 event the company would organize “a combo of locally hosted events, videos and live streamed content.” Microsoft Corp on Thursday said it still plans to hold its own developer conference in Seattle later in May but withdrew from a gaming conference scheduled for next month in San Francisco, joining a host of multinationals in calling off corporate events and grounding employees from travel as a result of the outbreak, according to Yahoo Finance.
Facebook donates a portion of ticket sales to “an organization working to diversify the tech industry” in San Jose — the F8 host city — every year, but since no tickets will be sold in 2020, Facebook will instead donate $500,000 directly to organizations that serve San Jose. Facebook is also going to “provide an F8-inspired experience” for local students who would have attended the conference, though no details were provided. Finally, Papamiltiadis explains that while the main event has been canceled, Facebook still plans to give its community a chance to convene through “a combo of locally hosted events, videos and live streamed content.” More plans regarding these live and live streamed event will be shared in the weeks to come, BGR reported.
“In place of the in-person F8 event, we’re planning other ways for our community to get together through a combo of locally hosted
events, videos and live streamed content. We’ll share additional details on our plans for F8 in the coming weeks”, is written in company’s statement.
Apple usually announces the dates for its WWDC events in March ahead of the conference itself typically held in June. At this stage it is unknown if Apple will cancel WWDC 2020. If the situation was to worsen, Apple may choose to cancel the main event and simply host a live stream from its base in Cupertino as it does with new product announcements, this time without an audience at the Steve Jobs Theater. It is unlikely Apple will postpone WWDC 2020 past June, mainly due to the fact by doing so it would delay the release of beta software to developers, cutting down on the time Apple has to perfect the upcoming OS versions prior to their public debut in fall, also shortening the time developers have to test their apps and add new features prior to the public rollout. There’s still time for the coronavirus to develop, whether that be for better or for worse. The possibility of a virtual WWDC this year sounds likely, but for the moment we’ll have to wait and see, The Apple Post wrote.