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A US software company, which includes some of the top names in the IT industry on its customer list, has ditched a multi-million dollar event after customers said they could no longer afford the plane tickets to get there.

Virginia-based webMethods sent out cancellation letters last week for Integration World 2001, an annual event used to show off its latest products, was due to take place this year in San Diego on May 15 and 16.

Phillip Merrick, webMethods chairman and CEO, told Reuters that customer cancellations had started picking up momentum over the last three weeks.

"Most large companies have really come down hard on their travel budgets," he said. "What they were saying is, 'We need you (webMethods) to actually subsidize it.' In a 1,400-person conference, that wasn't going to work."

webMethods customers include Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Motorola and Sun Microsystems. reg;

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