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Why Did Apple Bail On Macworld Expo?

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Daniel Eran Dilger

Sometimes it feels odd to have to explain why a company such as Apple, which can generate tremendous waves of publicity by simply sending out “event” post cards as a press release at any point throughout the year, might want to bail out of Macworld Expo, an event it does not control, does not really benefit from, is poorly positioned within the year for new product announcements, and has limped along on life support for years just like every other trade show in the terminally ill industry, even before the economic crisis really hit.

Who exactly could be surprised by Apple’s move, apart from the pseudo-journalistic tech punditry circle that has for so long confused the role of reporting events in the tech industry with trying to mold public opinion through its tiresome cacophony of forcefully stated, but poorly thought out opinions?
Revolution 9.

Pundits raced to pull out that broken record they love to play backward, the one that suggests in muffled scratchy tones that Steve Jobs is nearly as dead as Paul McCartney was in 1966. It didn’t seem to matter that Apple explicitly told reporters clamoring to write up another story speculating about Jobs’ health, that “Phil [Schiller] is giving the keynote because this is Apple’s last year in the show, and it doesn’t make sense for us to make a major investment in a trade show we will no longer be attending.”

While the tech punditry tirelessly try to explain why the iPod must be doomed, why record Mac sales are worrisome due to market share numerology, and how the iPhone phenomenon might be eclipsed by a desperately reanimated Symbian, imitative futureware from Microsoft, beta Android freeware, or even possibly the last gasp out of Palm, the reality is that Apple’s competitors are the ones looking increasingly inept and sickly on every front, while Apple is virtually printing money as it expands its retail footprint and rolls out impossibly successful new categories of products.

Microsoft has repeatedly stabbed itself in the face to spite its own monopoly; none of the world’s electronics companies have been able to churn out a salable iPod replacement of any commercial relevance; and the mobile phone industry has turned into a series of iPhone me-too attempts. All Apple needs to do is maintain its current heading through the turbulent economic crisis, which is not nearly so difficult for Apple as it will be for the Windows-bound PC cloners and the phone manufacturers who are all only differentiated on price in a market where profits are razor thin and competition is cutthroat.

What Apple doesn’t need is an annual dog and pony show, hosted by a third party and held just after the winter holiday, where expectations are raised to astronomical heights that predictably manipulate Apple’s stock price in absurd directions no matter what sort of brilliantly futuristic, highly profitable products the company trots out on stage from its black box of R&D.

Microsoft’s Zune, Vista, and Windows Mobile 7 Strategy vs the iPhone

Tech Trade Shows Are Dead.

Just like the dead tree trade magazines that organize them, tech trade shows are terminally ill. With the Internet, who needs to travel across the country to browse the wares of software and gadget vendors? The concept of tech trade shows made loads of sense in the infancy of the computing world, when Silicon Valley was abuzz with new things that magazines could only report on after their three month press delay. Today however, organizing regular conventions to look at stuff is less relevant than even the magazines themselves, which are still three months behind the times in a world where the web announces the news every few minutes.

Comdex and E3 packed it up as a public trade show years ago. CES, once held twice a year, is now just once a year. Over the last couple years, CES itself has been a sad shadow of boredom where the PC crowd travels to Las Vegas to invariably end up just watching Steve Jobs’ far more interesting Macworld keynote via satellite. The only reason anyone cares at all about Macworld Expo is because it has been the only place to get Apple’s state of the company speech.

The problem for Apple is that the company doesn’t need to coordinate with IDG’s Macworld Expo in order to deliver such a speech. Apple pulled out of the summer Macworld Expo after the company that ran it decided to move it from New York to Boston, against the interests of Apple itself, which wanted the event held closer to its big publishers in the Big Apple. Once Apple untied the knot, the summer Macworld deflated like a loose balloon.

Is Apple Shedding its Final Cut Pro Apps at NAB?
Something in the Air: Anticipating Macworld 2008

WWDC vs Macworld Expo.

In place of the summer Macworld, Apple began advancing WWDC from a small gathering to a significant convention with a public keynote. The company folded in its former QuickTime Live conference earlier this decade and turned WWDC into its own big summer event, which it has the freedom to schedule and organize and secure as it sees fit. Apple also earns money from attendees, which it can reinvest into providing the best sessions possible.

WWDC isn’t a trade show. There are a few vendors showing off products, but the event is all about building knowledge for developers and sharing glimpses of Apple’s future directions. That event continues to be relevant in the Internet age, particularly as developers new to the Mac and iPhone are drawn together to discuss ideas with Apple’s engineers and their peers.

In contrast, Macworld Expo is just an albatross around Apple’s neck. As reader Michael Lynch noted, “The timing could hardly be worse for a company highly dependent on consumers and largely selling discretionary items. The first week of January! It’s the worst possible time to introduce new items – especially those who replace, update or cannibalize a prior product. The amount of buyers remorse that is generated within recent purchasers by such an act is incredible.

”The flip side is that the annoying repercussion of not introducing exciting new consumer products is a barrage of negative press. This places Apple in a no win situation – which either way causes harm to the brand. Now why would you want that? Well – as a company – Apple didn’t. But IDG sets the dates – not Apple. IDG’s interests are not really Apple’s interests at all.“

WWDC 2008: New in Mac OS X Snow Leopard

Thaaat’s All Folks.

So why did Apple just now announce 2009 would be its last appearance at IDG’s Macworld Expo? For starters, the economic crisis has already lead many major exhibitors to abandon the expensive and minimally effective trade show already. It would be poor form for Apple to announce a pull out just weeks before the event, after attendees had already purchased their tickets. But signaling the end of Macworld’s future now shows that the company is making a planned decision, not just reacting to events at the last minute as Adobe and others have.

If Apple announced its departure after the Expo, it would appear as if the company was recognizing its own failure at the venue rather than plotting out an independent course well in advance, one its partners and ecosystem of developers can use in making their own plans. Apple basically decreed that Macworld Expo was finished this year. Without Apple, there is zero reason to hold the show; the same goes for IDG’s sister event in Paris.

Freed from a compulsory attendance at IDG’s obsolete trade show, Apple will be able to schedule its own events whenever it wants to; anyone who thinks the company will have any problem in showcasing its new gear simply hasn’t been paying attention. MacBooks, the iMac, iTunes releases, Snow Leopard plans, and the new iPhone 3G were all released last year without any connection to a trade show keynote.

Apple also now has a constellation of retail stores to reach its customers and new potential buyers. So why are pundits jumping on the death of Apple’s Macworld Expo bondage as bad news for the newly liberated company? Perhaps they’re worried that they now have one less opportunity to cantankerously announce their great disappointment with the new products Apple releases. Might I suggest CES as a replacement for their contempt? It has always worked for me.

Innovation: Apple at Macworld vs Microsoft at CES
CES: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

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1 John Muir { 12.18.08 at 11:35 am }

The people who lose out (besides greedy and incompetent old IDG) are the fans. Regular Mac using folks with the money and the interest could gather together once a year to see in person Steve ridicule and instantly obsolete the latest trash and vaporware unveiled by all and sundry at CES. It was a classic set piece. A great keynote with great expectations, and then the rest of the week socialising with the Mac community in its largest gathering.

Apple likely isn’t hurt by this as a company at all, so you are quite right. But the people who read and write stuff like this and constitute the community at the heart of the userbase … we’ve lost a little something. Imagine the response a rumour would have had a few months ago “Last Macworld Ever!” Who would have believed it back then without official word?

I’ve never been to any such tradeshow myself (living well away from any of them) so I’m not mourning some lost little ritual of my own. There is something being left behind by this. But something Apple Inc needn’t care about itself.

(Via iPod. Typos withstanding!)

2 nat { 12.18.08 at 12:12 pm }

I was hoping for Dan’s take on this matter.

Considering Apple used this past summer’s WWDC to announce MobileMe and…the iPhone 3G (!), perhaps people should have seen this change coming. You have to wonder how many Mac, iPod, and iPhone sales Apple loses every winter due to people putting off purchases until after Macworld. I know I always stress to my family that I don’t want anything Apple-related for Christmas because any gift could very well be refreshed or redesigned altogether at the Expo; the likelihood of this is far smaller now. Then there was the waiting game – “And you can get [insert awesome new thing] in…March” – which seems to be a necessary evil of any annual trade show featuring keynotes. This year’s E3 was abysmal, with the press conferences by Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft all pre-promoting stuff to death. I don’t believe there was a single thing from any of them that was available at or soon after the show and much of what was shown had been announced ahead of the show!

All that being said, I’d be interested to hear Daniel’s final Macworld predictions. Will refreshed desktop Macs dominate the show? Will we get a glimpse at Snow Leopard in action? Or will it be more of a look back on past Macworld keynotes?

3 PhilipWing { 12.18.08 at 12:37 pm }

The San Francisco and Boston/New York MacWorlds historically served another purpose – allowing for two predictable peaks in the stock price every year. I’m well aware that some folks claim this doesn’t occur, but I made listed option money on it for years. WWDC may start serving the purpose of being a new predictable peak time, but I don’t have enough data to say either way. Unfortunately, that would be investment advice, which I can’t legally supply… :)

4 mobiusloop { 12.18.08 at 12:45 pm }

Long time reader, first time poster. Like the city, love the site (politics included).

Thankfully I will be attending Macworld this (next?) year after not having the opportunity since early 2000. Steve or no Steve it’s a great mini-vacation, but “in honor of this most auspicious occasion” I would like to propose that the dress code be black mock turtlenecks, jeans and sneakers. Hope to see you all there. Mac On!

5 Sigma902 { 12.18.08 at 1:39 pm }

Unfortunately, I think the reasons Apple provided for this announcement are for personal reasons masquerading as business justifications. While the elimination of the Apple booth at Macworld makes business sense, the cancellation of Steve Jobs’ keynote hurts Apple’s business long-term.
The media exposure given to Apple for Steve Jobs’ Macworld keynote is unrivaled in American business. None of Apple’s private, invitation-only events have had or will match the mainstream media buzz of this event. Macworld has stolen all of CES’ thunder for the past couple years. This is an event in years past when C|Net would turn their broadcast it live. Steve would have interviews later that day on CNBC and other news shows. This event defined Apple’s brand as innovative and cool, and Steve Jobs as a technical genius and an American icon.
Several have argued that the emphasis needs to move off of Steve Jobs. But really, we know what Apple’s brand and reputation becomes when unlinked from Steve (’86-’96). Microsoft knows its brand is helped by Bill G. and having him appear with Seinfeld—unfortunately the ads were so bad it in turn hurt Gates’ reputation. But in Steve’s case all we are asking for is for him to make a 30 (?) mile trip to give its customers some face time and talk to us for an hour.
Many Mac developers work their butts off to have something to show or announce at Macworld—a date they didn’t choose. They want to improve their business, which in turn will help Apple’s business. Steve is a draw. He brings the press and distant customers that these 3rd party developers do not see everyday.
I believe what really underlies the speaker change is that Steve and Phil were freaked out that AAPL has tanked since the last Macworld thinking that they will never be able to have an announcement to match the hype. And frankly, they don’t have anything spectacular to announce. So they were trying to signal reduced expectations by substituting Phil (it makes no sense to attribute this change up to a reduced commitment to future Macworlds) so the stock wouldn’t take a hit. But really the stock just took its hit yesterday rather than Jan. 6.

6 Sigma902 { 12.18.08 at 1:46 pm }

One additional thought…. This does complicate Apple enterprise purchases. Macworld was the one predictable day in the year when I could get a peek at Apple’s plans or product directions.

7 samgreen { 12.18.08 at 2:18 pm }

I agree that dropping MacWorld is the right decision, although it is probably a year or two too late. It would have been better to get out of the trade shows when Jobs still looked healthy, to allow a more gradual transition to a Jobsless Apple.

If you look at the statistics for Whipple patients (http://www.surgery.usc.edu/divisions/tumor/pancreasdiseases/web%20pages/pancreas%20resection/whipple%20operation.html), it’s pretty clear that the chances Jobs will be active in 5 years are slim, and pretty well negligible in 10 years. They have to start planning for the transition.

8 John E { 12.18.08 at 2:41 pm }

Well, Dan misses something very important. MacWorld isn’t just about Apple. what about us? the real value (a $20 ticket) to those of us lucky enough to live nearby is/was all the third party software/hardware companies that exhibit there.

no, the internet is definitely not a substitute for face-to-face. that is just way too glib and bogus for Dan to say. At a show you can get your hands on the hardware and try it out. you can get a full Q&A presentation on complicated products. you can talk one-on-one to the guys who know their products well and can explain the many details their websites FAQ’s leave out. And – it’s fun! like a toy store …

of course Apple knows this. those exact same face-to-face and fun encounters with Apple products and knowledgeable staff are what makes Apple’s retail stores so popular. do we all just depend on the Apple website? obviously not. But except for iPod sound systems, Apple does not allow third party products to have hands-on displays in the stores, and there are no in-store demos or seminars for them at all.

of course one annual show in one city never was a national Mac consumer product showplace system. Instead Apple needs to open its stores to to, at least, scheduled sessions by other Mac software and hardware companies whose products are on sale there. (right now they just run the same workshops over and over and over, often with only a few people watching.)

now that would be pro-consumer. you know, us consumers should be the other half of the equation considered in these issues. it’s not just all about Steve.

9 jkf119 { 12.18.08 at 3:20 pm }


From the usc.edu site you link to…
“The operation is usually curative in patients with benign or low grade cancers of the pancreas.”

So…what part of the term “curative” don’t you understand? It has been acknowledged that Steve has the benign form of the disease. The site also specifies a predictable (stable) 5-10% weight loss.

Perhaps you were being ironic???

I don’t think Apple should comment on his health with this announcement as that would just set a precedent. They need to do what they’re doing…business as usual. Steve (other other Apple bigwigs) will show up and announce new products on Apple’s timing, not on IDG’s and, over time, this nonsense will just go away. Anything Apple does to draw further attention to it will only encourage hit-hungry bloggers et al.

10 nat { 12.18.08 at 3:33 pm }

@ John E,

Well if the third party Mac hardware/software community is so great (which it is), they should have no trouble carrying on without Apple getting all the attention and overshadowing their wares. What was the point of requiring Apple to be there anyway? Aren’t trade shows supposed to be about networking?

11 NormM { 12.18.08 at 3:36 pm }


You misread the website you cited. Jobs did not have adenocarcinoma. To quote the website, “The operation is usually curative in patients with benign or low grade cancers of the pancreas.” This is what Jobs had.

12 John Muir { 12.18.08 at 4:42 pm }


A successful expo without Apple’s presence – but with all the fans and third parties – would be great. But it isn’t viable. Apple Expo shrivelled and died in France while Cupertino ignored it. Macworld Tokyo and yes Boston too all just collapsed without Apple’s direct involvement.

As nice as it is to think that there is this active Mac and iPhone community which pumps out and sustains so many sites and blogs, and which needs – demands! – a great big shindig at least once a year to get its collective schmooze on … well, sadly the evidence is that although we may exist we aren’t prepared to go to an event in significant numbers when there’s no Stevenote or substantial Apple presence. Quite the contrary in fact.

Until now, we’ve just presumed that Apple got as much out of Macworld as we did. This was a mistake. With stores well established and the global tech media permanently ready at the drop of a hat, Apple’s need for expo is over. The magic of the keynote introductions over recent years – iPhone and MacBook Air in just the last two – made it easy to ignore the obvious signals given out by the company’s progressive abandonment of the other trade shows. We should have seen it coming, but because of Macworld’s key position in our own gossip and gathering rituals … we did not.

All eyes turn to WWDC. That one *is* controlled by Apple entirely, and those developers need different treatment to regular customers. I guess we’ll see though!

13 John E { 12.18.08 at 5:47 pm }

Apple holds its own new product roll-out events when it wants to. that won’t change.

i should have said us consumers were one-third of the equation. all the third party software and hardware companies making Mac products are the other one-third. the WWDC gives them an annual social and technical convocation, which is good. but they need a consumer showcase opportunity too, and Apple would be wise to provide it.

14 JasonBelec { 12.18.08 at 5:54 pm }

Go Apple! Yeah!

I have only been to the grand event once in my entire career (I have a WOZ-Kit to help define my age). I’ve never felt my life missed anything by not-attending. Supporting events that don’t directly grow the company (any company) value is pointless.

Not to mention the cost of air travel, hotels, food, etc. in the last few years. I like remote viewing. I will also buy the next, coolest stuff pumped out – always, because you just can’t have your addiction satisfied on the local corner!

15 luisd { 12.18.08 at 6:37 pm }

@John E.
Apple provides that opportunity to consumers. It is at the apple retail stores! I have to cycle 15minutes to get to one, instead of having to cross the atlantic for a Mac Moot once a year. As a costumer I don’t see any value on an Expo half the world away from me. Keep in mind that Apple is not catering for the US west coast. It has a global market!

Perhaps there is a small number of people who will travel long distances to the expo, but that market is already hostage in apple’s iron fist. A showcase in San Francisco doesn’t do much for the rest of the potential costumers around the planet that apple is after. Apple retail stores are much better proposition and way to reach the costumers.

16 pbreit { 12.18.08 at 7:54 pm }

You COMPLETELY MISSED the ONLY thing that surprised anyone: the TIMING!!

17 lowededwookie { 12.18.08 at 8:19 pm }

A lot of these comments seem to spew the same tripe as the media does.

Does Apple’s withdrawal really hurt the consumer or the fans? No, not really. I like the MacWorld Keynotes but let’s face it, Apple can do this from their own campus. Fire it up on iTunes like they have done for the last couple of shows and the world has ready access to the information. So you don’t get to physically be there but who really cares? Most of us can’t get to them anyway and really the only reason most people go is for the Keynote so…

The idea that small developers will be hurt is ridiculous. WWDC is for developers. Did you know that the “D” in WWDC stands for “Developers”?

Steve Jobs health may be alright or it may be failing, either way Jobs is NOT a god (sorry fanbois but it’s true) and so he will die. It’s the inevitable eventuality of the human condition. Have you noticed that the last few events has had Jobs take a back seat to other Apple employees? The writing is on the wall for Jobs as CEO but I don’t think that Apple will falter because of losing him. Apple is filled with people who have the same vision as Jobs otherwise chances are they wouldn’t be there still, knowing Jobs. Also the reigns of power will remain inhouse unlike the last time where it went to the ex-Pepsi CEO.

Apple has in place a number of places where Apple fans can go and discuss releases and all that with the retail stores so the community is not left out at all, in fact are more able to talk to other Mac users because there are numerous retail stores but only 1 MacWorld event. Tell me how fans a re really going to miss out? All Apple needs to do is setup the screens in the shops to display the Keynote and it’s even better and more intimate an occasion than a large hall filled with people.

Nope, none of the comments made by anyone about this being a bad thing ring true. I completely agree with Dan. Apple needed to get out of this show.

18 mjtomlin { 12.18.08 at 8:45 pm }

I agree with Dan’s comments and pretty much thought the same when I first heard about the pull-out. I went to one of SF Expos; the year they announced the iMac G4. While it was fun to be a part of, especially getting to see Steve Jobs deliver the keynote, the rest of the expo was pretty boring and lame. Other than maybe offering an opportunity to speak with reps from 3rd party companies, it really didn’t offer much more than what a stroll through Fry’s could offer.

Now, living on the other side of the US, it doesn’t make a difference whether Apple introduces new products at a huge expo or from their hall on the Apple campus. Also, I won’t feel obliged to tell people to wait until after the New Year to buy Apple products to see what they refresh or release.

19 mjtomlin { 12.18.08 at 8:49 pm }

As an after thought, for those people that love the ‘community’ aspect of allowing fans to come together, maybe Apple could start live-feeding their presentations to the theaters located in some of their retail stores?

20 NormM { 12.18.08 at 10:36 pm }


Jobs obviously has to do things to make it clear that the company can go on without him — this is just prudent management. That doesn’t in any way mean, though, that “the writing is on the wall” for him! He is 53 years old and, as far as we know, has a normal life expectancy (over 80), so he is very likely to remain as CEO for another ten or twenty years (which, in the tech industry, is in fact forever).

21 John E { 12.19.08 at 12:07 am }

@ luisd – you missed my point. video stuff is my hobby. where can i go to get hands on demos and talk with Roxio guys, or EyeTV guys, or Equinux guys, or Slingbox guys and others in that field? they were all at MacWorld last January. but they won’t ever be at the Apple Store anyplace, unless something major changes. and then there are the many accessories you see advertised in magazines or reviewed on websites, but the Apple Stores don’t carry all of them, and even if they do you can’t put your hands on them to be sure you want one, if that matters (not always), without buying it.

22 luisd { 12.19.08 at 5:44 am }

@John E – Sure, I see your point, but still, Macworld Expo only caters for a small number of very enthusiastic people, like yourself. For the vast majority of apple’s costumers, it doesn’t make a difference if the expo exists or not. Again, I will not travel half the world, or half America, if you want, to see the new gadgets out. If I want a new TV dongle, I’ll google it and read reviews and posts in blogs about how good or bad they are. I agree with Dan, with the internet, both magazines and expos are doomed, costumers don’t need them anymore.

It is up to the individual companies to manage their internet presence, and ensure press releases reach the right people to promote their products. On top of that, good reviews by costumers are essential, as they find their way to the internet very quickly. Hence solid user experiences are more important than ever before.

23 Per { 12.19.08 at 8:24 am }

I would just like to say how great to see new articles again. Knowledge, analysis and an entertaining style in one package. Welcome back!

I agree that the internet made trade shows obsolete but one less Stevenote means a lot less geek entertainment and less nerdy excitement in a year. Apple’s decision makes a lot of sense but I’ll miss the MacWorld keynotes.

24 aloysius { 12.19.08 at 10:25 am }

A thought just struck me… I didn’t duck in time ;-) Anyway…

When my Mom died from tumor, my Dad became even more a Control Freak than he was before. Somehow that giant slap of reminder of mortality caused him to try to “clean up his house” and unfortunately went overboard in trying to control everyone around him.

Maybe a little bit of this is also what pushes Apple (read: Jobs) to abandon Macworld. The WWDC is entirely Apple controlled, the focus is entirely on Apple, no pesky 3rd parties to distract the attendees from Apple’s message.

Total control would also help Jobs manage his gradual stepping out of the limelight… and in educating his eventual replacement to be nearly as brilliant as he is :-)

25 g4dualie { 12.19.08 at 5:54 pm }

“You COMPLETELY MISSED the ONLY thing that surprised anyone: the TIMING!!”

Actually, I thought he gave a pretty good account of the timing. He further noted how the other major players pulled out with little notice.

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27 PapayaSF { 12.20.08 at 2:33 pm }

I’ll miss the community aspect of it, even though all I’ve done in 15 years of attending was to wander the exhibit halls with friends. But there hasn’t been as much interesting new software as there used to be, years ago.

Still, there are two things that could happen: 1) Apple could let IDG kill the Macworld Expo, then start up their own version, at a more convenient time of the year. They’d have total control. I don’t see this as likely, but then the Apple stores took me by surprise as well. 2) IDG (or someone else) could downsize from a trade show to something more like a science fiction convention. Those aren’t big moneymakers, but they can be profitable. Exhibitors’ expenses would be far lower, and a convention could work even without an official Apple presence.

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31 PXT { 12.21.08 at 6:03 pm }

Although I was thoroughly impressed by the new unibody Macbook, I thought the event at the Apple village hall was cramped and subdued by the venue. It took a lot of the spark and excitement away, compared to the big stage. If Apple had a bigger theatre, it might help.

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33 John Muir { 12.22.08 at 6:19 am }


True. The unibody MacBook and MacBook Pro announcement was one of the Mac’s most significant for years. Just as big a deal as the 2003 Macworld intro of the 12 and 17″ aluminium PowerBooks and indeed 2008’s MacBook Air. Yet it was somehow quite palpably subdued. Was it the scale and accuracy of the leaks which spoiled it, or the small room without an enthusiastic crowd?

Note that Apple introduced the original iPod touch at a private event last year in Moscone Center itself. So they certainly can score a big venue when they want one.

I think the trouble is though that the computer media (compared to the wider appeal of an iPhone or iPod announcement) aren’t likely to fill a bigger space; so Apple won’t use one.

The fans were good for something after all!

34 pbreit { 12.23.08 at 5:12 am }

“Actually, I thought he gave a pretty good account of the timing. He further noted how the other major players pulled out with little notice.”

Are you that dumb? The *ONLY* reason anyone is surprised by the announcement or concerned about Steve’s health is because of the timing. And Mr Dilger skips over that entirely. He spends the whole article defending the pullout itself when he had everyone at “Hello”.

Someone, anyone, please explain the TIMING!!

35 John Muir { 12.23.08 at 7:06 am }


Well, let’s look at the possible factors:
1. An expected lack of compelling new hardware. The big news was back at the unibody MacBook event. Word is the main thing in the pipeline right now is a migration to Nvidia chipsets and … drumroll … a new Mac Mini. I quite like the Mini myself but I can remember well all the whining about the 2006 Intel Mini event (The one with the iPod HiFi!). The press were total dicks about it. I doubt that’s been forgotten.
2. Snow Leopard is still resolutely in the oven, and unlike every other OS X since 10.1 does *not* showcase new UI features. Not the stuff of epic demos.
3. Remember how Adobe and others bailed first? I wonder if that came into IDG’s negotiations over billing! Apple pays the principal share of the event. Could it be that IDG went to them to apply a bit of pressure to try to cut their own losses? IDG has shown itself to be breathtakingly incompetent in the past (recall their attempts to hardball Apple back to Boston, including retaliatory threats to MWSF’s survival back at the time!) so I’d put little past them.

All of these could have crossed the threshhold in the final weeks. Throw in IDG idiotically promising Steve’s presence before Apple said any such thing, and you have the calendar of epic fail you are looking for.

36 nat { 12.23.08 at 4:32 pm }

@John Muir,
“2. Snow Leopard is still resolutely in the oven, and unlike every other OS X since 10.1 does *not* showcase new UI features. Not the stuff of epic demos.”

Snow Leopard is not supposed to have new marketable features in general, but that doesn’t mean its UI will remain the same as Leopard’s. We might actually witness the final death knell for Aqua!! Every OS X release has been distinguishable from the one that came before it and I have a feeling we’ll see more iPhone influences as well.

37 John Muir { 12.23.08 at 4:37 pm }

I’d be pleased as punch with a Cocoa Finder with all the wrinkles ironed out, personally. But you know what the press is like. Pull too many iPhones out of the hat and they expect the world every time.

38 nat { 12.25.08 at 9:28 pm }

I’d be pleased as punch with a Cocoa Finder with all the wrinkles ironed out, personally. But you know what the press is like. Pull too many iPhones out of the hat and they expect the world every time.

I don’t think the tech press would grasp the significance of such a thing. :D

39 rjackb { 12.31.08 at 11:50 pm }

I would like to echo an earlier reply to samgreen that the statistics he points to in his link for the Whipple procedure are for those with pancreatic adenocarcinoma and thus wildly misleading.

Steve Jobs “did not have an adenocarcinoma, but rather an islet cell neuroendocrine tumor, which is, thankfully, much more likely to be cured surgically”.

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