Macworld 2010: Without Apple, there really isn't much there

Without Apple, there isn't much life left in Macworld. It may be time to put the show to rest
Written by Sam Diaz, Inactive on

I ducked into Macworld this afternoon to roam the show floor and see if there was anything really worth checking out now that Steve Jobs and Apple have severed ties with the annual trade show, which is being held this week in a small section of San Francisco's Moscone Center.

I've got to be honest. It didn't take long to check things out.

The show floor itself felt more like an Apple mega-store - a convention hall-sized retail outlet with more iPhone cases, iPhone skins and iPhone apps than anyone would ever need. Sure, there were some companies with some real offerings - those offering Mac apps for specific industries, such as medical.

And there were some big names there, as well: Microsoft and its Mac Office software suite, IBM talking about Lotus, Cisco pushing Unified Computing for the iPhone and VMWare showcasing Fusion - as well as some cool "I'm a Mac - and a PC" shirts. Beyond that, though, there really wasn't much to see.

Did I mention there some cool iPhone skins? Yeah, there were plenty of those.

Without Apple, Macworld is a shell of its old self - taking up a fraction of the convention space. Apple was right when it said it no longer needed a trade show as a forum to reach out to consumers, vendors or partners. I'd go out on a limb to say that even the vendors at this show don't need the expense of buying a booth and sending a team out to San Francisco. Folks at many of the booths looked a little bored as they waited for someone - anyone - to come over and express some interest.

I also peeked into a couple of the sessions going on. There were a lot of empty seats.

A banner at the top of the Moscone Center escalators thanked attendees for coming and plugged next year's show, which will be held Jan. 25-29, 2011. If you ask me, that's a bit optimistic - the idea that attendees might return again next year.

It may have been worth it to hold Macworld again this year to see if the show could survive without Apple to bring in the crowds. But now that the show has kicked off, it seems easy to see - at least with my eyes - that Macworld has run its course. It was a good run but times have changed. And given that, there's no shame in recognizing that the it's time to call it quits.

On the other hand, hanging on to a show like Macworld to be nostalgic or hope that things turn around would be, well, a bad business move.

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