It was stupid, selfish and extremely un-Apple-like. Apple is the master of marketing and prides itself on its highly polished image and well thought out products and services. Yesterday's announcement flies in the face of everything that Apple has done for the past 25 years.
Instead of the buzz surrounding Macworld Expo being about the latest iMac, Mac mini or Mac Pro, it's guaranteed to be about Apple bailing, Steve's absence and the future (or lack thereof) of the show. Vendors and exhibitors are going to subject to countless questions about the future of the show, if they're coming back next year and not about their latest wares.
Whether they intended to do it or not, Apple just killed Macworld Expo. I'm pretty sure that it won't be back in 2010 – which is a tragedy. Apple could have prevented this. It just needed to Think Different.
The best approach would have been for Apple to remain mum on their plans until well after the dust from Macworld Expo settled. Then in say, February, Apple could announce its abandonment of the show and how it's part of the companies bigger plan to (insert grand plan here). Apple could say that it is focusing on reaching customers through retail channels and through its Web site – like it did in the now infamous release.
Another approach would be to remain mum and let the show go on with Steve taking the stage as usual. After his traditional keynote address Uncle Steve could tell his flock that market conditions (or whatever) have forced the company to reconsider its trade show strategy and that this will be the last Expo for Apple. While this would still cast an inevitable pall over the show and put pressure on exhibitors to put the best face on it, at least Steve would be able to explain it to the audience in person. He could reason with the audience, get buy-in and create some sympathy.
Instead, Apple issued a cold, heartless press release that its dropping the show and not coming back. Oh, and by the way, Steve isn't even going to take the stage to tell everyone the bad news, he's sending Phil to do his dirty work.
Apple just broke up with its long-term girlfriend via text message.
Nice job Apple. Way to treat your vendors and customers. Personally, the whole thing reeks. Something is amiss in Cupertino. It's just too uncharacteristic of Apple to pull a stunt like this three weeks before its biggest event of the year. Something else has to be going on that its not telling us about. I wouldn't be surprised if Jobs has completely lost faith in the company he created and steps down in six months. Why else would Jobs would stick a dagger into the heart of his most loyal customers?
What's your theory on Apple bailing on Macworld Expo?