RealTime IT News

Macworld Goes to Boston, Apple Stays Home

Macworld's in Boston. Apple isn't. The computer company is boycotting the trade show because its producer, IDG World Expo, refused to move it to New York.

Meanwhile, an IDG World Expo executive told internetnews.com that the company is already booking the new waterfront Boston Convention & Exhibition Center for Macworld in 2005.

Warwick Davies, group vice president at IDG World Expo, said he hasn't asked Apple if it will participate in next year's show, but left the door open. "We have and always will have open arms for (all stakeholders)," he said.

Steve Dowling, a spokesman for Apple, declined comment on Macworld Boston (present and future) referring to a statement issued last summer. "Our position stands and Apple will not be participating in Macworld Boston. We are 100 percent committed to Macworld San Francisco in January every year."

Apple's absence stems from events stretching back almost two years. In October 2002, just as Mayor Tom Menino and IDG World Expo CEO Charlie Greco were holding a press conference heralding the return of Macworld after several years in New York, Apple dropped a public relations bomb.

The computer company's CEO, Steve Jobs, disagreed with the decision and vowed to stay away from the Boston show. IDG World Expo said it would proceed. A staring contest ensued. The companies were civil in negotiations for an Apple presence in San Francisco, but were unable, or unwilling, to compromise on Boston.

IDG's Davies contended the disagreement over the Boston location hasn't strained relations between the companies. Davies said he was recently at Apple's corporate headquarters to discuss planning for the next San Francisco show.

This year's show is expected to attract 10,000 Macintosh operating system devotees, including creative directors, educators, graphic designers, corporate and IT managers and musicians to the new waterfront Convention & Exhibition Center. In the exhibit hall, 80 companies will demonstrate products designed for Apple computers or devices.

Battery Technology will unveil its iPod battery, which offers up to 40 hours per charge of music play time or download time. Logitech will introduce a programmable universal remote control for use with Macs, PCs and personal video recorders, DVDs, stereos and TVs. And Parliant will showcase software that turns an OS X Mac into a phone communications hub with voice mail, conversation recording, call log and voice dialing capabilities.

IDG World Expo's Davies said after surveying Mac users in New England, it was clear there was still interest in holding Macworld in Boston.

Given Apple's absence, it's a different show than its San Francisco counterpart, at which Apple continues to maintain a presence. The last San Francisco show in January tallied 32,000 attendees and 240 exhibitors, Davies said.

"We've gone about marketing and presenting [the Boston show] differently," Davies said. "We have been going into the field and making contact with users' groups and universities."

A display done with Berkeley College of Music shows attendees how to build a digital music studio, either for professional musicians or aspiring American Idols.