Did Apple Just Kill The Trade Show?Dec 16th, 2008 | By James Lewin | Category: Featured Story, General
Today, Apple announced that 2009 would be the last year it participated in MacWorld. It also announced that Steve Job’s wouldn’t be attending for the keynote – effectively killing off the company’s participation immediately.Â
Here’s the text of Apple’s announcement:
Apple today announced that this year is the last year the company will exhibit at Macworld Expo. Philip Schiller, Appleâ€™s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing,Â will deliver the opening keynote for this yearâ€™s Macworld Conference & Expo, and itÂ will be Appleâ€™s last keynote at the show. The keynote address will be held at Moscone West on Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 9:00 a.m. Macworld will be held at San Franciscoâ€™s Moscone Center January 5-9, 2009.
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.Â The increasing popularity of Appleâ€™s Retail Stores, which more than 3.5 million people visit every week,Â and the Apple.com website enable Apple to directly reach more than a hundred million customers around the world in innovative new ways.
Apple hasÂ been steadily scaling back on trade shows in recent years, including NAB, Macworld New York, Macworld Tokyo and Apple Expo in Paris.
For many Apple fans, MacWorld isn’t just a trade show, but a sort of Mecca. Apple ending its participation is likely to mean the end of MacWorld.
Earlier this year, we asked, in a world of new media, if trade shows still matter:
Trade shows are encumbered with a lot of old-media baggage. And, asÂ Sara Lacyâ€™s SXSW interview with Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergÂ pointed out,Â people are no longer willing to sit through a presentation that is not compelling.
Trade shows also face competition from unconference-style events, like PodCamp and WordCamp. These events are cheap to put on and are usually closely aligned with what people are interested in, because they are organized by attendees.
Tech tradeshows need a radical overhaul in order to maintain their value.
I’ll be sorry to see MacWorld go – but the trade show is an expense that Apple, a company widely respected for its management and marketing, doesn’t think is justified.
In this economy, Apple’s move doesn’t bode well for the future of trade shows.
Update: Robert Scoble has weighed in the topic, and his views our similar:
What should we expect over the next year? A lot of bad news for big trade shows.
Whatâ€™s killing them? The Internet. You can launch a product live now from a living room. Thanks to Stickam, Ustream, Qik, Kyte, YouTube, Flixwagon, Viddler, Vimeo, SmugMug, etc and blogs.
Just give the people on Facebook something to pass along and talk about and your product is out there, big time.
What’s interesting about Scoble’s angle on this is that Apple makes no attempt to cater to bloggers.