How COVID-19 is impacting big tech: Apple closes stores, Amazon deliveries delayed & more

Here are five updates on how the novel coronavirus has affected major technology companies, and how they are responding to the virus:

1. Less than one week after Apple reopened all of its retail stores in China, CEO Tim Cook announced that all stores outside the country will close until March 27. As such, he wrote in a March 13 blog post, all eligible employees are encouraged to work remotely, sick leave policies have been expanded and hourly workers will be paid "in alignment with business-as-usual operations."

2. In a blog post of its own, Amazon announced March 13 that many household staples are out of stock and some deliveries are taking longer than usual to arrive as more customers turn to online shopping instead of in-person experiences.

"We are working around the clock with our selling partners to ensure availability on all of our products and bring on additional capacity to deliver all of your orders," the company wrote.

3. Additionally, Amazon notified employees on March 13 that a second employee has tested positive for COVID-19, CNBC reports. The worker has been quarantined, and any employees that may have had direct contact with the individual have been notified.

4. The latest tech conferences and events to be postponed, altered or canceled due to the virus include Apple and Microsoft's respective developers conferences. Apple's WWDC event, during which thousands of attendees learn about new software features and upgrades, will be held online in June, while Microsoft's Build conference, originally scheduled to be held May 19-21 in Seattle, will also go all-digital, with all registrants refunded.

5. Instagram will now display a link to information about COVID-19 from the World Health Organization and other global health resources at the top of users' feeds, the Facebook-owned company announced March 13. Additionally, the social networking platform will no longer allow access to coronavirus-related augmented reality photo filters to reduce the spread of insensitivity and misinformation about the virus.


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