Yesterday it was Samsung, and before that it was Google. Now, Qualcomm has announced that it won’t attend Mobile World Congress (MWC) this year, adding more misery to the annual event.
Qualcomm sent a statement to TechCrunch confirming it won’t be in attendance in Barcelona. Instead, the company is opting to attend virtually, following a similar move from Google, Samsung, Nokia, Ericsson, Oracle, Lenovo, and IBM.
“While we appreciate the health and safety measures being put into place by the GSMA for MWC Barcelona, we have decided that it is in the best interest of our employees and customers for Qualcomm’s participation to be virtual this year,” a Qualcomm spokesperson told TechCrunch. “We look forward to engaging with the ecosystem through Cristiano Amon’s virtual keynote on June 28th and through our latest announcements and 5G demonstrations.”
Although the pandemic is still in full force in many parts of the world, the GSMA, the governing body that puts on MWC, insists that the show must go on. The GSMA has said that it has a multi-layered plan in place to ensure a safe environment for those who attend in-person. Still, several companies have opted not to put their employees at an unnecessary risk, which is why they’ve pulled out from physically attending.
The organizers behind MWC actually pushed back the event to June seemingly hoping things would be closer to normal, but as we’ve seen in many places across the globe, that’s not the case. Vaccines have helped some places return to some semblance of normalcy, but access and leadership has hampered efforts to defeat the COVID-19 virus.
It’s yet another blow for MWC, which had to be canceled last year after a number of major companies said they wouldn’t attend. Several big events have already announced plans to go entirely virtual this year, including E3, Google I/O, and WWDC. It would seem that the GSMA was overly optimistic about returning to an in-person format during a pandemic.