SXSW 2020 canceled by coronavirus: Here's every tech event not happening (so far)

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The effects of the coronavirus outbreak continue to be felt in the tech world where another high-profile tech event has just been scrubbed from the calendar.

In the same week Google canceled its annual developers conference slated for May, South by Southwest (SXSW) has now been scrapped, too. The tech and culture event was canceled after the mayor of Austin, Texas, declared a local disaster today (March 6) to deal with the impact of the virus.

SXSW organizers had been adamant that the show would go on, even as participants like Facebook, TikTok and Twitter all pulled out during the past week. But the Austin mayor's order effectively prevents SXSW from taking place.

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Here's a round-up of what tech events have been canceled so far due to concerns about the coronavirus outbreak and how organizers have restructured those events. We've also got a look at major tech events scheduled over the next few months, which will now find themselves under pressure to announce their plans in the wake of coronavirus cases continuing to be crop up, both in the U.S. and overseas.

Tech events cancelled due to coronavirus (so far)

Mobile World Congress: The annual summit of the mobile industry in Barcelona was to have gotten underway Feb. 26, but organizers pulled the plug on the event in mid-February after many exhibitors pulled out. Qualcomm and Sony both streamed their MWC announcements online, while LG announced the LG V60 ThinQ via press releases instead of during an MWC press event.

Game Developers Conference: Originally slated for the week of March 16, GDC organizers postponed the show a week ago. They say they'll try to reschedule for the summer.

SXSW: The culture and tech confab was set to begin on March 13. This will be the first time in 34 years the March conference won't take place. Organizers say they're "working through the ramifications" of the city of Austin blocking SXSW.

Facebook F8: Facebook's developer conference usually takes place at the end of April, but Facebook has already announced that the event is scrapped. Instead, Facebook says that it plans to "replace the in-person F8 event with locally hosted events, videos and live-streamed content."

Google I/O: Google's annual developer conference is no longer taking place at the Shoreline Amphitheatre this May. This is the event where Google typically shows off the newest features coming to the next version of Android, and at least year's show, we got our first look at the Pixel 3a and Nest Home Max.

Google is still looking at ways to move forward without an in-person event, with plans to be announced on its developer conference website.

Upcoming tech events: What's still taking place (for now)

Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference

Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (Image credit: Apple)

Microsoft Build: Microsoft's annual developer conference is scheduled to start May 19, a week after Google I/O was to have kicked off. There's no word on any change in Microsoft Build's status, but you would figure that Google's decision to cancel I/O might convince Microsoft to follow suit with its developer event. Microsoft has already cancelled its March 15 Most Valuable Professional Summit over coronavirus concerns.

Apple WWDC: There's no date set yet for Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, though Apple typically holds that event the first week of June. Recent WWDCs have taken place in San Jose, Calif., with this year's event likely to showcase new versions of macOS, watchOS and iOS 14 among other updates. Apple has restricted employee travel to countries most affected by the coronavirus and the outbreak forced the closure of Apple retail stores in China, so the company is obviously mindful of the situation.

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E3: E3 is supposed to start June 9. While the postponement of GDC has game makers asking questions about whether this larger gaming industry trade event should go on, for now organizers say there's no change in the event's status, as E3 moves ahead.

Computex: One of the bigger laptop and PC shows of the year is scheduled to start June 2 in Taiwan. For now, the trade show is set to go on. The 2003 edition of Computex was pushed back to September due to that year's SARS outbreak, so there's precedent of that event being rescheduled over health concerns.

What about the rumored March Apple Event?

Of course, this list doesn't include product launch events that haven't been announced and may never get scheduled as companies weigh the value of gathering lost of people together in one area during the middle of a health crisis. 

Apple, for example, is rumored to be working on an iPhone SE successor with the iPhone 9 expected to debut at an event at the end of this month. With the coronavirus outbreak already threatening to slow down production of that phone, though, that event may be pushed back — if it even gets announced at all.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.