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The End of Macworld (?), The Start of CES

SAN FRANCISCO --The fate of this one, not-too-large gathering called Macworld has a lot in common with some other transitions the Internet is forcing on established businesses -- say, bookstores and music stores with physical locations. In all these cases, the same question comes up: Can the Internet get the job done well enough to make face-to-face interaction redundant?

I had a good chat about this yesterday with Joel West, a business professor at San Jose State University and blogger who has attended almost every Macworld since the first in 1985. He agreed that Apple didn't need this show anymore, not least because of its awful timing. He (and more than one exhibitor) also noted that problems like high rental fees and setup charges for exhibit space make these trade shows a chore for people trying to do business there.

But he also said that for attendees and companies not named "Apple, Inc.," a gathering like this has its own benefits -- even in an industry as Internet-connected as the computing business.

"For my existence proof," West said, "I give you the open-source community." The developers of open-source programs like the Apache Web server easily coordinate their coding efforts across vast distances. And yet, he continued, "They need to have these events like ApacheCon... now and then where people can have a beer and get to know each other."

That event may wind up being Consumer Electronics Show. The Consumer Electronics Association has already set aside some exhibit space at next year's CES for Mac-focused products, CEA spokesman Jason Oxman wrote in an e-mail.

I'm now headed to that show, where I'll spend the next three days going from meeting to meeting and from exhibit to exhibit, wearing our my shoes and running up (more of) a sleep deficit as I try to see what the electronics industry has in store for the next year or so. Things start today with a round of press conferences -- I hope to make Samsung's, Panasonic's and Sony's -- followed by the opening keynote by Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer. I'll liveblog that, starting at 6:30 Pacific/9:30 Eastern.

For now, this is one last chance to post requests for things and trends you'd like me to try to check out in Vegas. The comments are yours...

By Rob Pegoraro  |  January 7, 2009; 2:20 PM ET
Categories:  CES 2009 , Macworld 2009  
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Next: Liveblogging Steve Ballmer's CES Keynote

Comments

Trend to check out:

Not that it's new, but the death of print media, or its migration to the web. First Byte, then PC Magazine, nor Dr. Dobbs Journal.

How long before all the mainstream magazines, and newspapers, are digital only?

Posted by: wiredog | January 7, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

now (not nor) Dr Dobbs...


Someday I'll learn how to properly use one of these newfangled keyboard thingys.

Posted by: wiredog | January 7, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

With all these techical gurus out there why is it not possible to create an entertainment experience people will gladly be willing to pay for? As a resident of Panama it also frustrates the heck out of us that we can't watch regular major network programs; often can only get snippets in YouTube, and others, like ABC just tell you it isn't available in your country. It's on YouTube for crying out loud people! Get it together.

This week I managed to find an episode of Desperate Housewives, but only had time to watch half of it. The next day it's been yanked for copyright infringement!

Give me a service where I can download movies, TV, games anytime I want and watch them whenever I want to and I will gladly pay a monthly fee for the privilege. And ask the electronic gurus why I can't work and play on one monitor? I want a nice big HD screen, wall size preferably, with a picture in picture of what's on TV, like CNN maybe, which I can click on to bring up full screen and hear, without missing a beat on my work. Now THAT I would pay dearly for.

Cheers from Panama.

Posted by: panamacanuck | January 7, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Rob - I e-mailed you last night about this but as a big fan of our home Sonos system (whole house music), I'm interested in the Sonos-killer that Cisco plans to roll out at CES, and how it compares to Sonos (better, better-looking, and cheaper, from all I can find), and how Sonos reacts. The Sonos message board has an interesting discussion of this. Thanks.

Posted by: sullidav | January 7, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

> "They need to have these events now and then where people can have a beer and get to know each other."

Hey Rob:

I'm a GEEK. I DREAD meeting people face-to-face, even other geeks.

All I need is the information, not the person. That's why I strip off all emotional BS when people say stuff to me.

Though stripping the emotional nonsense from a message by a normal often leaves me with no message at all.

Oh well.

-- faye kane, homeless brain
See more of my smartmouth opinions at http://blog.myspace.com/fayekane

Posted by: FayeKane_HomelessSmartypants | January 7, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

> First Byte, then PC Magazine, now Dr. Dobbs Journal.

You left out the best one ever: PC Tech Journal. (Is Datamation still around?)

However, CPU mag now carries the torch, and is doing a good job of it, too, but for the reviews of cameras and cars.

-- faye kane, homeless brain
See more of my smartmouth opinions at http://blog.myspace.com/fayekane

Posted by: FayeKane_HomelessSmartypants | January 7, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

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