Apple, Google, Amazon wrangle with covid realities amid Omicron advent


Across the big tech world, companies are adjusting to the threat of the new omicron covid19 variant, even as delta ravages the workforce and the community.


Apple announced that its hybrid work pilot program has been delayed yet again, saying that employees will now go back to work physically on an ‘undetermined date.’


“We are delaying the start of our hybrid work pilot to a date yet to be determined,” Tim Cook said in a memo, according to reporting at TechRadar. “Our offices remain open and many of our colleagues are coming in regularly, including our teams in Greater China and elsewhere.”


That timeline had been moved previously from October to January, and then to February.


Apple also restored mask mandates in its stores.


Google is giving employees until January 18 to get compliant with the covid19 vaccine.


Employees had until December 3 to get an exemption on religious or other grounds.


Employees that don’t comply, Steven Musil reports at CNet, will be put on paid administrative leave, then personal unpaid leave, then terminated.


Amazon, for its part, is dealing with a challenge from legislators over covid19 misinformation that they say is popping up in its bookstore.


“Searches for terms such as ‘COVID-19’ and ‘vaccine’ yielded ‘highly-ranked and favorably-tagged books based on falsehoods about COVID-19 vaccines and cures,’ according to a Sept. 7 letter to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy by Sen. Elizabeth Warren,” writes Charlotte Schubert at GeekWire.

“Such content remains prominently featured on Amazon as COVID-19 cases rise worldwide and the Omicron variant shows potential to overwhelm already taxed hospitals. Health officials are urging people to get vaccinated and boosted as the fast-moving variant surges in Europe and spreads through the United States.”


That’s just a little bit about what’s happening in these mega-companies that dominate the US stock market as we anticipate more covid19 activity through the year to come.