Mar 3, 2020 - Technology

Tech firms ban travel and push remote work amid coronavirus outbreak

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Tech companies are taking fresh action in hopes of preventing employees from getting exposed to the novel coronavirus.

The big picture: It's not clear what course the virus will take, but companies are trying to do what they can to keep running their businesses while minimizing risk for employees.

  • Salesforce is among the companies banning all international travel and most domestic travel.
  • Twitter is encouraging employees to work from home if they can and has pulled out of SXSW in Austin, Texas.
  • Facebook is limiting social visitors to its offices, and is following Twitter in scrapping plans to attend SXSW.

The big picture: A number of tech companies are converting in-person events to digital ones, including Google, with its Cloud Next conference; Adobe, with Adobe Summit; and Microsoft, with its MVP Summit.

  • The moves come on top of a spate of earlier industry conference cancellations, including Game Developers Conference, F8 and Mobile World Congress, along with a number of smaller events.

The other side: SXSW organizers are moving forward with the event, although they said they are meeting with health officials daily. (More than 28,000 people have signed a petition urging organizers to cancel the event.)

Go deeper

Netflix and Apple the latest to pull out of SXSW over coronavirus concerns

The 2019 SXSW Conference at Paramount Theatre, Austin, Texas, March 2019. Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SXSW

Netflix is the latest big name to withdraw from this month's South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, amid concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus, the streaming giant confirmed to Axios Wednesday night.

Details: Apple told Axios earlier in the evening that it was withdrawing from the event.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Mar 5, 2020 - Health

Coronavirus pushes TED conference back to July

Photo: Glenn Chapman/AFP via Getty Images

This year's TED conference is being rescheduled to July, organizers told Axios, marking the latest incident of the coronavirus derailing a tech event.

Why it matters: Postponing the conference, originally slated to take place in Vancouver next month, denies major players in tech and business a chance to assemble in one place to talk big ideas just as the coronavirus crisis heats up and global markets grow volatile.

Remote work shift calls for fast footwork

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Air CEO Shane Hegde received a frantic call last week from New York nonprofit Robin Hood (not to be confused with the brokerage app). The organization needed to immediately finish moving all its digital assets to the cloud as it was suddenly sending employees to work from home.

The only solution: He dispatched an employee to Robin Hood’s offices to pick up more than 20 hard drives and upload their contents as fast as possible.