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Microsoft joins other exhibitors in skipping CES as pandemic spikes

Associated Press

GM CEO Mary Barra, shown in 2019, will deliver her CES keynote remotely instead of at the Las Vegas trade show.

The Consumer Electronics Show — Las Vegas’ biggest tradeshow — took another blow Friday as Microsoft joined other tech giants in skipping the show because of the spike in the pandemic.

Microsoft said in a statement that “after reviewing the latest data on the rapidly evolving COVID environment, Microsoft has decided not to participate in-person at CES 2022.”

GM, Google, Lenovo, Intel, T-Mobile, AT&T, Meta, Twitter, Amazon, TikTok, and Pinterest had earlier announced they will not have a physical presence at the show, which is set to begin Jan. 5.

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GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra had been scheduled to give a keynote speech and roll out the company’s electric Silverado pickup at the annual conference, which drew 182,000 attendees in 2019, before the pandemic. Instead, she will give the speech remotely.

“We have decided to move to an all-digital approach with our activation at CES 2022 in January,” GM said in a statement. “We are continuing with our plans on Jan. 5 to share our significant company news, including the reveal of the Chevrolet Silverado EV.”

The Consumer Technology Association, which produces CES, said the show will go on in-person, with extensive COVID protections in place.

The disease has been rapidly rising in prevalence again in the U.S., as a new variant sweeps through the population.