Apple Inc is closing all of its stores outside China until March 27 in a bid to slow the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, chief executive officer Tim Cook has said.
Cook said the firm had learned from steps taken in China, where the tech giant has just reopened its retail stores.
“One of those lessons is that the most effective way to minimize risk of the virus’ transmission is to reduce density and maximize social distance,” he said in a statement late on Friday. “As rates of new infections continue to grow in other places, we’re taking additional steps to protect our team members and customers.”
Apple’s online store would remain open, but office staff outside China would be working remotely if possible, Cook added.
The California-based firm has about 500 stores in 24 countries around the world.
Despite the closures, Cook said hourly workers would continue to be paid as normal.
Apple had expanded its leave policy “to accommodate personal or family health circumstances created by COVID-19,” including caring for a sick loved one, mandatory quarantine or childcare due to school closures, he said.
Meanwhile, Microsoft Corp on Friday announced that cofounder Bill Gates has left its board of directors to devote more time to philanthropy.
The 64-year-old stopped being involved in day-to-day operations at the firm more than a decade ago, turning his attention to the foundation he launched with his wife, Melinda Gates.
Bill Gates served as chairman of Microsoft’s board of directors until early in 2014 and has now stepped away entirely, the Redmond-based tech giant said.
“It’s been a tremendous honor and privilege to have worked with and learned from Bill over the years,” Microsoft chief executive and company veteran Satya Nadella said in a news release.
“Bill founded our company with a belief in the democratizing force of software and a passion to solve society’s most pressing challenges; and Microsoft and the world are better for it,” he said.
Nadella said Microsoft would continue to benefit from Bill Gates’ “technical passion and advice” in his continuing role as a technical adviser.
ATTACK UNLIKELY: China would become ‘pariahs internationally for just the wanton destruction of Taiwan’ and would have little to gain from it, Trump’s security adviser said A top White House official on Friday urged Taiwan to build up its military capabilities to protect against a possible invasion by China, saying that Beijing would have that ability in 10 to 15 years. US President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien told the Aspen Security Forum that a missile attack by China against Taiwan would be much too destructive. An amphibious attack is a possibility, although at the moment it is beyond China’s capability, he said. However, China could combine that threat with “gray zone” operations, embargoes, harassment and other actions to intimidate the nation if Taipei does not build
REGISTRATION ROW: The online marketplace stopped taking new orders before noon yesterday and said that it would help sellers complete their deals before going offline E-commerce site Taobao Taiwan (淘寶台灣) yesterday announced that it would leave the Taiwanese market at the end of this year, after being told by the Investment Commission to register as a Chinese entity. It made the “tough decision” to leave Taiwan, effective Jan. 1 next year, due to “market uncertainties” and was in talks with its employees over a redundancy scheme, the company said in a statement. It would also help sellers on its site complete their outstanding deals to protect their rights and those of the buyers, it said. The company said that it had decided to stop taking new orders before
UNFOUNDED CLAIMS: Hong Kong air traffic controllers told a Taiwanese aircraft to leave due to ‘dangerous activities,’ but the military said it found no reason for the claim Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發) yesterday called on Beijing to respect international aviation rules and refrain from undermining air travel after Hong Kong air traffic controllers on Thursday morning warned off a Taiwanese flight. A military chartered supply flight operated by Uni Air (立榮航空) from Kaohsiung to the Taipei-controlled Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島) in the South China Sea was forced to turn back on its way to the disputed islands, where 250 Taiwanese coast guard personnel are deployed, the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said. Hong Kong air traffic controllers denied the Uni Air ATR2-600 aircraft authorization to enter the
TAKES THE CAKE: Chinese diplomats tried to take photographs of people attending a National Day event in Suva, before reportedly assaulting a Taiwanese diplomat The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday condemned the Chinese embassy in Fiji over a fracas at its Double Ten National Day event at a Suva hotel, while a lawmaker demanded that the ministry file a lawsuit against Chinese embassy personnel for injuring a Taiwanese diplomat at the event. The Grubsheet news blog on Sunday and New Zealand-based Asia-Pacific Report Web site yesterday reported that two members of the Chinese embassy in Suva tried to force their way into a celebration held by the Taipei Trade Office in Fiji at the Grand Pacific Hotel on Oct. 8 to take photographs of