Dec 22, 2021 - Technology

CES organizers press on despite Omicron threat

Photo: Bridget Bennett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Consumer Technology Association said Tuesday that it is going ahead with next month's CES trade show in Las Vegas even as a number of tech companies and publications say they won't be sending their employees.

Why it matters: The annual consumer electronics trade show is a key gathering point for the industry, but the pandemic forced it to go virtual in 2021.

  • "CES will still take place Jan. 5-8 in Las Vegas with strong safety measures in place," the Consumer Technology Association said in a statement to Axios.
  • "Thousands of entrepreneurs, businesses, media and buyers are planning to come to Las Vegas. Top leaders from federal and state and foreign governments are attending," the group said, adding that it has "received several thousand new registrants since late last week."

Yes, but: Lots of tech companies and media organizations say they won't be in attendance.

  • Amazon said late Monday that it won't be attending. Meta, Twitter and Pinterest are also skipping the show, per Reuters. T-Mobile is vastly scaling back its presence, including canceling a planned keynote from CEO Mike Sievert.
  • A number of the big names in tech media plan to cover the show entirely remotely, including CNET, Engadget, The Verge, TechCrunch, IGN and TechRadar.
  • Samsung was noncommittal, but said it is considering a smaller on-site delegation as it prioritizes worker health: "The health and safety of our employees and attendees is our top priority heading into CES 2022."
  • Update: On Wednesday, AT&T and TikTok also told Axios they would not be taking part in person.

Be smart: The organizers of CES tried to push forward with the 2021 event in person before finally shifting to virtual.

The big picture: Tech companies have been adjusting their plans in the wake of the Omicron variant. Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Apple and Meta have all postponed a widespread return of workers to corporate offices.

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