It's The End of the Macworld As We Know It
Mac observers will have to find something else to obsess about each winter: Apple announced yesterday that it will not participate in Macworld Expo after January's convention--which itself will not feature the usual Steve Jobs keynote.
In other words, we can all stop speculating breathlessly about which "one more thing" will conclude Jobs' presentation. True, Apple marketing vice president Phil Schiller will give a keynote in place of Jobs on Jan. 6, but that's Just Not The Same.
And without an Apple presence at all in 2010, Macworld Expo appears as doomed as show organizer IDG's other, now-departed Mac gathering, the summer Macworld Expo it used to stage in Boston and New York--and which died a quick death after Apple quit headlining the show following the 2002 event.
Apple explained the news in a short "Apple Announces Its Last Year at Macworld" press release that boiled down to "we don't need to persist in this exercise anymore":
Apple is reaching more people in more ways than ever before, so like many companies, trade shows have become a very minor part of how Apple reaches its customers. The increasing popularity of Apple's Retail Stores, which more than 3.5 million people visit every week, and the Apple.com website enable Apple to directly reach more than a hundred million customers around the world in innovative new ways.
Reaction to the news has been all over the map. You can see a few responses along the lines of "Nooooo!!!!" in some comment threads--a sentiment brilliantly parodied by a fake "Apple Announces Last Year of Christmas" story.
Industry analyst types have thrown out a few explanations, many focused on Steve Jobs' yielding the keynote stage on such short notice. For instance, EWeek's Joe Wilcox suggested that Jobs' health was the real reason--an issue also raised by Time's Josh Quittner but rejected by CNBC's Jim Goldman. Apple, as usual, isn't saying either way.
Others have looked at the fate of Macworld in general. The Mac newsletter TidBits provided a somewhat sentimental summary of Macworld's history and what Mac folks--not just businesspeople, but everyday users--get out of the show: "The Mac community is about connecting with one another, and Macworld Expo remains the preeminent place to reapply the glue that binds us." Jupitermedia analyst Michael Gartenberg, by contrast, largely agreed with Apple's stated rationale in a bottom-line-focused piece, noting that "Apple, unlike many other companies has the ability to draw audience of press and analysts as needed." And at TechCrunch, the verdict was simply "it's about time."
Tech trade shows in general have lost much of their importance. Many have folded outright, including such once-mandatory events like Comdex, Internet World and PC Expo. Even the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show will have fewer attendees, to judge from the plummeting Vegas hotel rates.
Macworld also has suffered from bad timing. I never quite grasped the logic of a consumer-focused company making its biggest product announcements two weeks after the end of the holiday shopping season. Setting aside the broader viability of big conventions, a summer Macworld in San Francisco would make a lot more sense in terms of retail seasons.... and in terms of allowing attendees to catch a baseball game in the evening.
Yes, I would be lying if I didn't admit that one of my favorite things about Macworld has been its San Francisco locale. I could do without the scramble to find a seat at the keynote, the effort involved in resisting Jobs' Reality Distortion Field during it and the rush to file a report afterwards, but it's always been a treat to walk out of the Moscone Center at the end of a long day and reacquaint myself with that extraordinarily pleasant city. I'll miss that.
How many of you ever made the trek to the Bay Area for Macworld? What's your reaction to the news?
December 17, 2008; 7:10 AM ET
Categories: Mac , The business we have chosen
Save & Share: Previous: Apple Revises Mac OS X, Revs Up MobileMe Syncing
Next: New BlackBerry Phones: Both Sweet And Sour
Posted by: firefly970aolcom | December 17, 2008 8:37 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: cgallaway2000 | December 17, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Wallenstein | December 17, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: bob_edmiston | December 17, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: snappir | December 17, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: oorfenegro | December 17, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: webnuts4u2 | December 17, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: featheredge9 | December 17, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: KHMJr | December 17, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: blakesouthwood | December 17, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: kennedye | December 17, 2008 6:04 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: dboyes99 | December 17, 2008 8:40 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 17, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: joxman1 | December 17, 2008 11:24 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: musket1 | December 18, 2008 6:42 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: tokrueger | December 18, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: CmdrSue | December 18, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: sellington | December 22, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.