For some reason I've received a couple of dozen emails from people (some from readers, some from journo types looking for a quote) wanting to know what I think of Apple pulling out of the Macworld Expo after next year. Well, here's my take on why Apple's decided to do this ...
- Tradeshows are dead. OK, not actually dead, but terminally ill. I know that some people disagree, but the reach of tradeshows compared to the reach of say the web is tiny. Sure, there are exceptions, but on the whole the era of tradeshow is over.
- The Macworld Expo wasn't an Apple thing. Macworld Expo is run by IDG World Expo. Apple likes to have a lot of control over events it puts on and chances are that Macworld Expo didn't offer Apple enough control.
- Apple's grown beyond the cult of users that flock to tradeshows and hang on every bit of info coming out of Apple. To frame my statement read what Jason Snell of Macworld had to say:
"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."
Eh? "The single best meeting place for the entire community of users" ... really? Mac's now a mainstream product and while it might have once needed to maintain a presence at tradeshows, those day are over. A Mac or an iPod is something you buy in a store. It's not a cult or a religion or a sports team. You exchange money for goods. Nothing deeper than that.
- If Apple is getting 3.5 million people through the retail stores every week (figure from Apple's press release) then that seems like a far better place foe Apple to communicate with users.
- Apple is trying to shift the focus away from Jobs. Health issues or not, no CEO comes with a certificate of immortality, and Apple is (or maybe Jobs himself is ...) trying to break the "Apple = Jobs, Jobs = Apple" illusion.
[UPDATE: Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster seems to agree with me that this could be "the beginning of a shift in leadership roles" at Apple.]
Thoughts? Anyone here going to miss Macworld Expo?