Tech's big names start to disclose possible bottom-line coronavirus impacts

Warnings to investors from Dell, DocuSign, Cloudera and MongoDB reveal not all are completely terrified

Coronavirus has started to become a staple of the Form 10-K corporate risk disclosure documents filed by public technology companies.

Public companies in the United States file an annual “Form 10-k”, which is best understood as the warts-and-all on-the-record companion to companies shinier and glossier annual reports. Form 10-Ks always detail risk factors a public company feels it must disclose to ensure investors are properly informed. The disclosures are sometimes blunt, but generally don’t diverge too far from boilerplate statements about market conditions and known issues a company is already facing.

In fact, several recent 10-Ks filed late last week by enterprise tech companies familiar to Reg show the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has become something worthy of disclosure.

DocuSign, which basically offers social-distancing as-a-service with its digital document-signing software and “Agreement Cloud”, popped this into its 10-K.

We have undertaken measures to protect our employees, partners and customers, including by adopting a virtual meeting in lieu of our annual North American DocuSign Momentum conference and by requiring almost all employees to work remotely until at least March 31, 2020. There can be no assurance that these measures will be effective, however, or that we can adopt them without adversely affecting our business operations. In addition, the coronavirus outbreak has created and may continue to create significant uncertainty in global financial markets, which may decrease technology spending, depress demand for our solutions, and harm our business and results of operations.

MongoDB slipped [PDF] in a bullet point about potential problems caused by quarantine, plus the observation that “we expect the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic will likely impact our sales pipeline and bookings.

Michael Dell, photo: Dell

Dell, VMware withdraw fiscal 2021 guidance amid humming global supply chain and remote work boom


"In addition, COVID-19 could adversely affect workforces, customers, economies and financial markets globally, potentially leading to an economic downturn. While it is not possible at this time to predict the duration and extent of the impact that COVID-19 could have on worldwide economic activity and our business in particular, the continued spread of COVID-19 and the measures taken by governments, businesses and other organizations in response to COVID-19 could materially and adversely impact our business, financial condition or results of operations."

But it’s not all gloom.

Cloudera, which disclosed all sorts of risks related to its merger with Hortonworks and competitive threats, popped this into its 10-K:

Due to our subscription-based business model, the effect of the coronavirus may not be fully reflected in our results of operations until future periods, if at all.

And Dell’s mentions of coronavirus don’t much beyond adding it to a long list of risks that comprises “raw material availability, manufacturing capacity, labor shortages, public health issues, such as the outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), tariffs, trade disputes and protectionist measures, natural catastrophes or the effects of climate change (such as extreme weather conditions, sea level rise, drought, flooding and wildfires), and significant changes in the financial condition of Dell Technologies’ suppliers.” ®

Narrower topics

Other stories you might like

  • We can unify HPC and AI software environments, just not at the source code level

    Compute graphs are the way forward

    Register Debate Welcome to the latest Register Debate in which writers discuss technology topics, and you the reader choose the winning argument. The format is simple: we propose a motion, the arguments for the motion will run this Monday and Wednesday, and the arguments against on Tuesday and Thursday. During the week you can cast your vote on which side you support using the poll embedded below, choosing whether you're in favour or against the motion. The final score will be announced on Friday, revealing whether the for or against argument was most popular.

    This week's motion is: A unified, agnostic software environment can be achieved. We debate the question: can the industry ever have a truly open, unified, agnostic software environment in HPC and AI that can span multiple kinds of compute engines?

    Arguing today FOR the motion is Rob Farber, a global technology consultant and author with an extensive background in HPC and in developing machine-learning technology that he applies at national laboratories and commercial organizations. Rob can be reached at

    Continue reading
  • But why that VPN? How WireGuard made it into Linux

    Even the best of ideas can take their own sweet time making it into the kernel

    Maybe someday – maybe – Zero Trust will solve many of our network security problems. But for now, if you want to make sure you don't have an eavesdropper on your network, you need a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

    There's only one little problem with commercial VPNs: many of them are untrustworthy. So, what can you do? Well, run your own of course is the open-source answer. And, today, your VPN of choice is Linux's built-in VPN: WireGuard.

    Why WireGuard rather than OpenVPN or IKEv2? Because it's simpler to implement while maintaining security and delivering faster speeds. And, when it comes to VPNs, it's all about balancing speed and security.

    Continue reading
  • Boffins demonstrate a different kind of floppy disk: A legless robot that hops along a surface

    This is fine

    Those of us who fear future enslavement by robot overlords may have one more reason not to sleep at night: engineers have demonstrated a few of the legless, floppy variety making some serious leaps.

    Animated pancake-like droids have demonstrated their ability to execute a series of flops in a fashion their creators – soft robotics engineers based in China – describe as "rapid, continuous, and steered jumping."

    "Jumping is an important locomotion function to extend navigation range, overcome obstacles, and adapt to unstructured environments," Rui Chen of Chongqing University and Huayan Pu of Shanghai University said.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021