Bomb Scare Jolts OracleWorld, Seybold

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2003-09-10 Print this article Print

UPDATE: Police give the all-clear at San Francisco's Moscone Center as organizers of both trade shows scramble to reschedule hastily interrupted events.

SAN FRANCISCO—A bomb scare on Wednesday caused the evacuation of two technology conferences being held at the Moscone Center here, sending about 14,000 attendees onto the nearby streets and sidewalks. After searching the emptied convention center for about two hours, San Francisco police said they had found no indications of a bomb and cleared the center for re-entry at 4:20 p.m. Pacific time. The evacuation cancelled the OracleWorld and the Seybold Seminars San Francisco 2003 conferences for the rest of the day, and managers of both shows said they planned to resume their conferences on Thursday morning.
Attendees of the OracleWorld conference were the first to stream out of the north and south buildings of the convention center after Oracle Executive Vice President Charles Phillips decided at about 2:30 p.m. to evacuate the conference, Oracle spokesman Dave Samson told reporters. His decision came after the San Francisco Police Department informed Oracle of the bomb threat.
"Within 60 seconds of being informed by the San Francisco Police Department, Chuck Phillips made the decision to evacuate," Samson said. The evacuation, however, came more than an hour after the first bomb threat on the Moscone Center was received. That came at 1:20 p.m. and was followed by another two to three calls to other, unspecified locations, said Officer Maria Oropeza, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Police Department. The Seybold conference was evacuated soon after OracleWorld. It was being held in the newly opened west wing of the Moscone Center one block away from OracleWorld. Tim Bray, founder and chief technology officer of Antarctica Systems Inc. and a co-founder of XML, said he was in the speakers room at the Seybold show when he heard an announcement come over the loud speaker about 3 p.m. saying that an evacuation had been extended to the west wing. The OracleWorld evacuation came just as Ken Jacobs, vice president of product strategy in the server technologies division, was due to give a keynote address. Oracle has rescheduled his keynote for 11 a.m. on Thursday, the last day of its major trade show of the year. Organizers of the Seybold show said they were scrambling to reschedule Wednesday afternoons events for later in the conference, which runs through Friday. Discuss this in the eWeek forum.
Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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