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Nvidia Cancels GTC CEO Keynote Webcast Over Coronavirus Concerns

'The company believes that continuing public health uncertainties would challenge its ability to produce and deliver a digital keynote,' Nvidia says of its decision to cancel a planned live webcast of its CEO Jensen Huang delivering a keynote for the digital GPU Technology Conference.

Nvidia has canceled plans for a live webcast of its CEO Jensen Huang that was set to be part of the chipmaker's digital GPU Technology Conference, only a week after the company canceled the physical portion of its flagship event due to growing concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company announced on Monday that it will no longer hold a digital keynote with Huang, where he was expected to disclose several new products, and that it will instead issue news announcements for the products on March 24, with an investor call to follow.

[Related: AMD CEO: Coronavirus Will Have 'Modest' Impact, Guidance Unchanged]

Nvidia said the decision was made "in light of the spread of the coronavirus."

"The company believes that continuing public health uncertainties would challenge its ability to produce and deliver a digital keynote," Nvidia said in a press release.

The GPU powerhouse said other portions of the GPU Technology Conference, or GTC, are still happening, starting March 25. They include live webinars, recorded talks and panels, research posters, trainings and Connect With Experts sessions. The company said it will provide more information soon.

GTC was initially planned as a physical conference that was set to take place March 22-26 in San Jose, Calif., but the company decided to pivot to a digital format on March 2 due to coronavirus concerns.

Nvidia's decision to cancel Huang's keynote comes on the same day that the first death from novel coronavirus COVID-19 was reported in Santa Clara County, where Nvidia and many other tech companies are located in Silicon Valley. The victim was a 60-year-old woman who had been declared the first patient in the county to be infected with COVID-19 without having traveled internationally or coming into contact with an infected person or traveler, according to the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department.

Santa Clara County health officials have recommended that businesses take steps to minimize close contact between employees by encouraging telecommuting, canceling large in-person meetings and otherwise reducing the chances for employees to be within arm's length of one another. The recommendations were made in consultation with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"We decided to halt plans for the webcast because it required the presence of a large number of external vendors to pull this off to the highest of standards,” an Nvidia spokesperson said in an email to CRN.

The number of confirmed cases of people with COVID-19 in California was 114, with one death, according to the California Department of Public Health. Overall, for the U.S., the number of people with confirmed cases of novel coronavirus COVID-19 has reached 607 while 22 people have died from the virus and eight have recovered, according to a real-time tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University. Worldwide, the total number of cases has reached 113,584, the number of deaths 3,996 and recoveries 62,496.

Several tech companies are canceling, postponing or pivoting to digital formats for upcoming events, but Nvidia appears to be the first case of a company canceling a live webcast due to concerns about the coronavirus. Earlier in the day, CRN reported that rivals Intel and AMD are switching gears for their upcoming partner events.

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