IDG World Expo Corp. has announced the cancellation of all future Macworld Boston Conference and Expo trade shows.
The annual convention was the summer counterpart to Januarys Macworld San Francisco show, which will now be the only annual consumer conference in the United States focused on Apple Computer Inc. and its Macintosh and iPod products.
The Boston-based show suffered a serious blow to its credibility, as well as to vendor and attendee numbers, when Apple declined to participate in the 2004 version.
Apples decision was in response to IDGs move of the show from New York, where it had been held from 1998 to 2003, after its first 13 years in Boston.
According to some reports, the shows move to New York had been made at the request of Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
Macworld New York shows were significantly smaller than the San Francisco shows, at which Apple regularly debuted new products.
Where the latter regularly attracted over 30,000 attendees, the Boston shows saw approximately 10,000 to 20,000 visitors.
After the move to Boston without Apple, attendance dropped to approximately 8,000, according to IDG.
The list of industry exhibitors also shrank. Mac software stalwarts including Adobe Systems and Microsoft did not present booths or product at recent Macworld Boston shows.
“Historically, we have had a West Coast and an East Coast show,” said IDG spokesperson Mike Sponseller. “After the last show, though, we did a lot of market research and it was obvious that the market wanted one show.”
Sponseller said that IDGs plan is to make Macworld San Francisco, which he called the “flagship event,” the companys focus.
The 2005 Macworld San Francisco, he said, saw 36,000 attendees, which represented an 11 percent increase. The show also had 10 percent more exhibitors than in the previous year, he said.
“Well see more exhibitors, more attendees, more conference tracks” at the 2006 version of Macworld San Francisco, he said.
Sponseller said that some vendors had already signed up for booth space at the 2006 Macworld Boston.
He said that he didnt know what IDGs policy will be, but he said that “obviously, they wont have to pay” for the cancelled show.
He declined to say whether the Boston shows had been profitable or not. He also said he could not speak as to the cancellations effect on IDGs bottom line.
Alan Oppenheimer, the president of Open Door Networks, which produces a software-based firewall for Mac OS X, said that he was surprised by the news of the cancellation, but that it would have little effect on his company.
“We did not plan to be at [Macworld Boston], as the cost of going cross-country did not justify the [small] exposure we would gain,” he said.
“We did exhibit at MacWorld New York, once or twice I believe,” he said. “I think [Macworld Boston] was good for learning about stuff, through the sessions, just not good for looking at third-party products. And of course Apple wasnt there, which clearly was why it died,” he added.
“Small Mac shows can certainly exist without Apple, but they need to be built (and billed) quite differently. Or a big show back in New York (or elsewhere), with Apple there,” he said.
Sponseller said that IDG “does not have any plans” for resurrecting a summer Macworld in New York.