So there are already a heap of stories and speculation about Apple’s decision to stop participating at the Macworld Expo trade show. Here’s one and here’s another, both from AppleInsider. Maintain perspective with the second because it’s a rehash of speculation made after an Apple product launch in October. At the event, COO Tim Cook had a large role in the event, as did Phil Schiller, VP of product marketing, and Jonathan Ive, the company’s design guru. It was clearly an opportunity for the company to bring in some new faces even though Jobs might be calling the shots on a number of things including the songs used for commercials.
So pick your reason(s) for the Macworld exit. I tend to take Apple at its word (a position I realize opens me up to a certain amount of skepticism from my readership, all two of you…) on this. Jobs’ health will always be questioned and while company officials have said, as they did in 2005, that there is a executive succession plan in place it is “confidential,” questions will remain. (It’s the blessing and curse of having the company’s brand so tightly aligned with one charismatic figure who just happens to be better at framing the company’s vision and selling its products than virtually any other technology or media company executive.)
I believe that the reality is a bit more pedestrian. In this day and age, when rapid innovation in hardware and software is required, especially for a company playing in the personal device markets – iPod and iPhone – and the computer hardware and software business, focusing major new product announcements to a single date – set by some other entity — makes no sense.
The company seems to have no problem taking over multiple news cycles before, during and after its own launch events. More important is the fact that its Worldwide Developers Conferences have been sellouts for the past several years and that’s an event it controls.