Apple tonight issued a press release announcing that this January will be the company's last year participating in Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco.
The other surprise in the release is that Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing – not Steve Jobs – will deliver the keynote address for this year’s Macworld Expo, and it will be Apple’s last keynote at the show.
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. The increasing popularity of Apple’s Retail Stores, which more than 3.5 million people visit every week, and the Apple.com website enable Apple to directly reach more than a hundred million customers around the world in innovative new ways.
Apple has been steadily scaling back on trade shows in recent years, including NAB, Macworld New York, Macworld Tokyo and Apple Expo in Paris.
Apple has not publicly stated why Steve Jobs won't be giving his traditional keynote address, but I'm sure that speculation will abound.
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