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Macworld Expo to stay in Big Apple?

Organiser rethinking Boston jaunt

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Apple appears to be close to winning its battle with Macworld Expo organiser IDG World Expo over the location of the bi-annual show's East Coast venue.

David Korse, IDG World Expo's new chief, has told the Boston Herald that he is examining the merits of New York and Boston, and will make a final decision on the show's location on 1 September.

If he chooses to stay in New York, the show's East Coast home for the past few years, it will be good news for Apple.

IDG World Expo announced it was moving the show to Boston back in 2002, the East Coast show's former home. The first Boston show was scheduled for the summer of 2004. Soon after, Apple said it thought the move a mistake and promised not to take part.

It also said it would reconsider its support for the 2003 show, which took place last month. And, indeed, CEO Steve Jobs decided not to give his customary keynote speech. Instead, Apple beefed up its Worldwide Developers Conference, and Jobs made all the announcements he might otherwise have made at Macworld at WWDC.

Having downplayed its participation at Macworld Expo, Apple had little choice but to transfer Job's announcements to WWDC. It's possible the Conference's move from San Jose in May to San Francisco's prestigious Moscone Center in June was made to make it possible to announce the Power Mac G5. Apple may have been sending a IDG World Expo a warning: look, guys, we don't need you, we can do this kind of thing ourselves.

Heck, it may even have done so to give developers a better, more feature-complete view of Panther, the next version of the Mac OS, but odds have to be on one or both of the former.

We haven't seen the figures, and we weren't there ourselves, but anecdotal evidence suggests this year's Macworld Expo in New York wasn't as popular as it has been. Not only the Jobs no-show, but having WWDC scoop Expo almost a month ahead, must have had an effect on attendances. There were fewer exhibitors too. The traditional 'more people visited than last year' press release is conspicuous by its absence.

The very fact that Korse is considering keeping the show in Now York is a sign that Apple's strategy has, in part, worked. It prefers New York because the location better signifies the image Apple is keen to project as a major player. The move to Boston, while welcomed by many regular attendees - the city's cost of living is cheaper than The Big Apple's - might be perceived is a diminution of the relevance of the Mac, and understandably Apple couldn't back such a move. ®

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