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The coronavirus has prompted Dell Technologies to make a second alteration to Dell Tech World 2020. After switching to a virtual format for the May event, Dell now says the user conference will take place at unspecified dates in October.
The schedule change follows Dell's decision to withdraw its earnings guidance for next quarter, including the forecast for Dell-controlled VMware, amid a nationwide economic shutdown.
At Dell Tech World 2020, Dell EMC was expected to unveil its next-generation midrange storage, codenamed Midrange.Next. The new storage system initially was targeted for a 2019 launch, but Dell recently pushed the debut back to coincide with its annual user conference. For now, the release date remains unclear.
Initially scheduled May 3-5 in Las Vegas, Dell Tech World 2020 switched to a virtual format several weeks ago as part of a wave of IT vendors that postponed, canceled or converted on-site trade shows to virtual events due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Dell revealed the October schedule change in a blog post, noting how its customers, partners and workers are balancing the dynamic situation as "the new normal." People who paid to attend will automatically be registered for the virtual conference, but may opt to roll their registration fee over to Dell Tech World 2021 or receive a full refund.
CEO Michael Dell, in a letter posted online, said Dell Technologies will ensure customers can remain as operational as practical, including availability of tools for remote work. He said Dell is closely following guidelines of the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health authorities.
"At the same time, we are managing the impact on our own business and supply chain operations, so we can take care of you. Whether enabling a remote workforce, ensuring business continuity, powering the technology for infectious disease prevention and control, or providing simple, human advice, support and friendship -- we are here to help," Dell said in his letter.
The shutdown, and the looming possibility of a resulting global recession, occurs as storage and server vendors cope with sharply declining revenue in the age of the cloud.
Dell Technologies in February guided revenues for the 2021 fiscal year at roughly $92 billion and $98 billion. VMware meanwhile rescinded its FY2021 guidance of $12.3 billion. Dell obtains many components and products from overseas suppliers, which puts it at risk of supply chain disruptions and limited control over delivery and cost of goods.
Dell said in a securities filing it is "unable to predict the extent to which the global COVID-19 pandemic may adversely impact our business operations, financial performance and results of operations" for the remainder of the year.
While Dell Tech World 2020 and other IT conferences are in limbo, Dell EMC rival NetApp said its scheduled user event in October remains on track. NetApp Insight is scheduled Oct. 25-27 in Las Vegas. The file vendor said in a statement it is monitoring COVID-19 conditions in countries where it operates and act accordingly. However, NetApp did join Dell in withdrawing its earnings forecast for this quarter because of “rising uncertainty related to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the global macroeconomic environment.”