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Macworld at the brink?

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Update: The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) announced today that it will co-sponsor (with iLounge.com) a "unified iPod/iPhone pavilion" at next year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES), raising more questions about the continued existence of Macworld Expo.

CES will be held in Las Vegas on January 7-10. Macworld Expo - if it survives this latest blow - will overlap two of those dates. It's scheduled January 4-8 at San Francisco's Moscone Center.

Apple announced in mid-December that the 2009 Macworld Expo would be its last. Without its central exhibitor, many observers feel that Expo 2010 would, at best, be a shell of its former self.

The CES "iLounge Pavilion" may lure away many more Macworld Expo exhibitors since it will feature, according to the CEA, "a special exhibition area for manufacturers and retailers of iPod and iPhone accessories, related products and services" that is "already set for thousands of square feet."

Unfortunately for IDG World Expo, host of the annual gathering of the Mac faithful, many vendors of iPod and iPhone accessories, software, and add-ons - a high percentage of Macworld Expo exhibitors - will now need to decide which of the two shows will result in a better return on their marketing dollar.

Adding to IDG World Expo's worries is a recent report that Apple itself will join CES exhibitors in 2010.

IDG World Expo did not immediately respond to our request for comment on their Macworld Expo plans - such as whether they'll bother holding the show at all.

Updated: The Reg spoke with Paul Kent, GM of IDG World Expo, who told us that the company is "definitely doing Macworld in 2010." The show is scheduled for January 4-8, to be held in San Francisco's Moscone Center.

He dismissed the report that we cited from AppleInsider concerning Apple's attendance at CES as being merely a "rumor," and said that the "only real evidence" of Apple's plans is that company's statement that "Apple has been steadily scaling back on trade shows in recent years, including NAB, Macworld New York, Macworld Tokyo and Apple Expo in Paris."

Kent also played down the possibility of CES drawing iPhone and iPod accessories vendors away from Macworld Expo, saying that the conflict between the two shows has existed "for years," and that those vendors have always "had to choose between the two shows."

Judging from the large number of iPhone and iPod accessories vendors exhibiting at recent Macworld Expos, it's evident that many have chosen it over CES. It remains to be seen, of course, whether the new CES "iLounge Pavilion" will affect their choices in 2010. ®

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