The End of Macworld


Yesterday, the world was abuzz over the news that Apple (s aapl) was pulling out of Macworld. While many were taken aback, as the publication Macworld (no affiliation with the show) notes, Apple has been backing away from trade shows for a few years already, among them the Apple Expo, in Paris, whose 2009 show has now reportedly been canceled.

In fact, the latest move, which led to further speculation about the health of CEO Steve Jobs and helped push Apple’s stock down some 6.5 percent today, is a sign of how the world of technology is changing. With virtually every technology service and product a mere click away, live video streams that allow people to watch events in real time — and liveblogging for those that want to read about them — trade shows are a relic of the past, like pinups from the 1940s.

What’s not replaceable is the community these trade shows foster. As someone who hit Macworld every year since 2002 (except 2008), I have to admit I felt a certain sense of loss at the news that Apple is pulling the plug on this event. Macworld (again, not affiliated with the show) Editor Jason Snell puts it best when he says:

I’m stunned that Apple has taken a 25-year-old event that has been the single best meeting place for the entire community of users and vendors of Apple-related products and treated it like a piece of garbage stuck to the bottom of its shoe. (hat tip to Daring Fireball)

There are, of course, various theories as to the reason behind this move, centered around not only Jobs’ health but management shifts and whatnot. We’ll know soon enough, I suppose. Just not at Macworld!

From the archives:

  • The Steve Jobs Experience: Macworld, is more about Steve Jobs’ experience that the new products. On stage, Jobs displays emotions with the veracity of a Hollywood thespian.
  • iPhone & The End of PC Era: Steve Jobs is a great storyteller. If he were a fiction writer, he would stand shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Tom Clancy and John Grisham. Mesmerizing in prose, master of the climax.


Nirav Bhavsar

“….publication Macworld (no affiliation with the show) notes…”
Really? Last time I checked; both are owned by IDG.

Esme Vos

There’s a huge opportunity here for someone to organize an event that brings together the Mac community, especially the new iPhone developers. It should be cheap and fun like SXSW Interactive in Austin. I don’t think a traditional event organizer like the folks who do MacWorld can pull off something like that — has to be someone with new ideas, who is respected in the Mac community.

Jeff Putz

The ROI from trade shows has been taking a dump for years. This is hardly a shocker. Apple can throw a little event at the office and get the same kind of press. They don’t need the show.

Om Malik

@kerwell I think it would be interesting to see how the community responds to the non-presence of Steve and if Phil can really deliver a keynote people want to attend. It is incredible timing — just a month before the show.


I should add that I’ve met Phil Schiller and he’s a really nice guy. I’ve never actually seem Ballmer speak in person, but I have seem Bill Gates dance (at a Spencer Katt party at Comdex) and, yes, he is a very white guy :-)

Busby SEO Test Gary Viray

If there’s a way that MacWorld can be a virtual event of sorts, the better. There are many folks around the world who can’t afford to go to these type of events. A virtual MacWorld, through the use of webcast technology, will reach out to more people willing to learn, listen, and share.


So this January we have a keynote duel between Schiller and Ballmer. The world just got a little more dull.


And in related news, bloggers are expecting a 90% decrease in posts and traffic from last january

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