Under The Microscope

The Future of Macworld

MWSF 2010Each January for the past 25 years, Mac users from around the world have gathered in San Francisco for Macworld. An expo, conference, reunion, and carnival all in one, Macworld provides the absolute best chance for Mac users of all stripes to connect and re-connect with one another, as customers, colleagues, and friends. Macworld is a powerful celebration of the thousands of products and millions of people that make up the Mac universe, an annual reminder of just how important the products we use everyday are.

Late last year, Apple stunned us all when they announced that after 2009, they would no longer be exhibiting at Macworld. They said trade shows were outmoded, and the Apple Stores did many times the foot traffic of the Expo. It was too expensive and just not worth their time. Many worry this announcement may spell the end of Macworld. Apple’s withdrawal from the East coast Macworld show quickly led to its collapse, after two years of sparsely-attended shows. The fear is that the West coast show could meet a similar fate.

I too worry about the future of Macworld. Macworld 2010 is still on track, with new dates now scheduled for February. However, Apple has long been the biggest draw of Macworld, and without them it will certainly be a different show. There will be no enormous Apple booth, nor any announcement on the scale of 2001’s iTunes or 2007’s iPhone.

I don’t believe we’re going to see an expo on its deathbed though. I think that we may well see the birth of a new expo. Macworld 2010 will be less tied to Apple, but it will still have plenty of the same familiar faces. Friends you’ve met over the years will be there, and so will hundreds of the Mac universe’s beloved developers. Macworld exists because of everyone who goes, not just because of Apple’s presence. Macworld can easily be as relevant in 2010 as it was in the years before. All it takes is two things: attendees and exhibitors.

We’ll be there – Come join us!

With that in mind, I’m delighted to be able to plant a flag and say that in 2010, Rogue Amoeba will again be exhibiting at Macworld. We still believe in Macworld and all that it provides. We believe it’s relevant, useful, and worth having. We believe that meeting new customers, talking to existing ones, and sharing a great time with all manner of Mac friends, is still worth doing. If you want proof of this belief, look no further than booth #1545, where we’ll be demoing great audio software under the banner with the strange name and crazy mascot.

I’m hopeful that Macworld 2010 will continue to be the celebration of the Mac community that Macworld has long been for many of us. In a global economy where customers and companies are tens of thousands of miles from one another, Macworld may actually be more important than ever, as a means of providing face-to-face contact. Simply put, I still believe in Macworld, as both a user and a developer. That’s why we’re exhibiting and that’s why we hope you’ll be attending.


The Macworld Expo Hall will be open from February 11th to the 13th 2010, in San Francisco’s Moscone Center, and you can register for a free Expo Hall pass right here. So mark the dates, and remember our booth (#1545). Come see the beginning of something special. Come see the new Macworld.

Macworld 2010: We’ll see you there.

7 Responses to “The Future of Macworld”

  1. Glenn Fleishman says:

    “Late last year, Apple stunned us all when they announced that after 2009, they would no longer be exhibiting at Macworld.”

    Is that just rhetoric, Paul? I wasn’t surprised. Taken slightly aback, but Apple has been pulling out of trade shows for years. I wondered if IDG didn’t instantly agree to a new set of Apple demands for 2010, and Apple used that as an excuse, or if it was just unilaterial, buh bye.

    But I agree with you on Macworld 2010 being a different beast with a lot in common. I’m still trying to figure out, as a freelance writer, whether I can afford the cost (much cheaper in February!) of going to the show, but I hope to be there.

  2. Paul Kafasis says:

    No, not rhetoric – I would say I was fairly stunned by it. Apple had pulled out of plenty of other shows, it’s true, but Macworld always seemed like their home. Obviously, they never viewed it that way, and that’s sort of sad to me.

  3. Daniel Brusilovsky says:

    It’s great to see the Mac developers supporting IDG. They are getting so much negativity for Apple’s choice to pull out of Macworld 2010. I feel that with/with out Apple at Macworld, it’s still fun to see the Indie developers! Looking forward to seeing you again at Macworld for another year!

  4. Raj says:

    Honest question that doesn’t seem to be addressed by any Macworld 2010 discussions I’ve seen: WHY won’t the West Coast Show see the same fate as the East Coast Show did? Is it simply because the cost of exhibiting in the East meant expensive shipping and travel for the West Coast companies, which make up the majority of the show? That’s the only reason I can think of from my (admittedly) armchair quarterback position.

  5. Paul Kafasis says:

    Raj: It’s a fair question. A big part of it is that Paul Kent and IDG have learned from the failure of the East coast show, and are trying lots (and lots) of new things.

    Another part of it, I think (without looking up/knowing too many numbers) is that a big portion of both attendees and exhibitors come from the local area, making it easier to attend or exhibit.

  6. Chris says:

    The iMac wasn’t announced at Macworld. Just sayin’.

  7. Paul Kafasis says:

    Chris: Hmm, no, I guess it wasn’t announced there. It was first shown off at Macworld New York, but had been announced a couple months earlier, in May.

    Changed it to iTunes, 2001. Good catch.

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