Mobile World Congress (MWC) is one of the biggest phone events of the year, but it will go on without one of its biggest attendees, as Google pulls out.
MWC is one of the biggest electronics events of the year, and serves as a place for phone manufacturers to showcase their upcoming models. It’s especially helpful for smaller companies that may not have the same pull in the press as Apple, Google or Samsung.
Last year, MWC 2020 was canceled as a result of the pandemic. This year, planning has resumed for an in-person event, using only standard protective precautions. In contrast, most other major events in the tech industry are still being held digitally.
It seems Google isn’t willing to take the risk, given the ongoing pandemic.
“Following our current COVID-19 travel restrictions and protocols, Google has made the decision to not exhibit at Mobile World Congress this year,” read Google’s statement. “We will continue to collaborate closely with GSMA and support our partners through virtual opportunities. We look forward to this year’s activities and seeing you in Barcelona in 2022.”
Ericsson was the first company to announce they would not be attending because of the pandemic. They were quickly joined by Nokia, Sony and now Google. It remains to be seen if MWC will change course, given the high-profile pull-outs. Interestingly, MWC organizers insisted on continuing with the conference last year, only to abandon those plans when enough major companies withdrew their support.