IBM cancels its biggest event of the year over coronavirus fears, as it makes a new rule that employees can’t go to a conference with over 1,000 attendees

IBM CEO Ginni Rometti

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IBM CEO Ginni Rometti
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IBM
  • IBM has canceled its biggest developer conference of the year over coronavirus concerns.
  • IBM Think was set to be held in San Francisco in May, but it will instead it will hold a digital event.
  • IBM also placed restrictions on employee travel, including limits on domestic work travel and a ban on attending events with more than 1,000 people.
  • In a statement, IBM said: “The health of IBM’s clients, employees and partners is our primary concern. In light of global precautions for the COVID-19 Coronavirus, and building upon recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO), IBM is taking a new approach to its signature events and adopting new travel policies.”
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As the coronavirus continues to spread around the globe, IBM is canceling its biggest developer conference, limiting employee travel, and restricting employees from participating in events with more than 1,000 attendees.

IBM’s client and developer conference IBM Think, which brought 30,000 attendees last year, was supposed to take place May 5-7 in San Francisco. Instead, IBM announced Wednesday that it will now hold a digital event with “live streamed content, interactive sessions and certifications and locally hosted events, which will highlight IBM’s technology and industry expertise for developers and clients without the risk of travel.”

IBM is also placing new travel restrictions on employees through the end of March. IBM plans to suspend all domestic travel for internal meetings, and it plans to cut back on international travel to only “business-critical situations when virtual methods are insufficient.”

IBM is still allowing domestic travel for work with clients, although employees are encouraged to hold meetings virtually.

In addition, if IBM employees have traveled recently to any restricted locations, they must inform their manager and self-quarantine for 14 days after their trip.

“The health of IBM’s clients, employees and partners is our primary concern,” IBM said in a blog post. “In light of global precautions for the COVID-19 Coronavirus, and building upon recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO), IBM is taking a new approach to its signature events and adopting new travel policies.”

IBM is also withdrawing its attendance in the HIMSS health care conference in Orlando next week.

Recently, there has been a false rumor spreading around about an IBM employee in Austin who has coronavirus, and IBM has been working to assure employees that it’s not true. IBM’s cancellation and new rules highlights how COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has been causing widespread disruption and uncertainty for major tech companies. The outbreak has infected more than 95,000 people and killed more than 3,250, mostly in China.

Companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon have taken measures in response to the spread of coronavirus, such as canceling conferences, encouraging employees to work remotely, and conducting interviews virtually.

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