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Macworld Conference & Expo
Produced by Boston-based IDG World Expo, Macworld Conference & Expo is a
trade show dedicated to the Apple Macintosh platform with conference tracks
occuring twice a year in the United States. The name Macworld is the name of
the most widely read Macintosh magazine in North America, and is a trademark
of its publisher Mac Publishing, a wholly owned subsidiary of International
Data Group. IDG World Expo is also a subsidiary of International Data Group.
At one time, the show was known simply as Macworld Expo.
The Conference & Expo features educational conferences taught by leaders in
their field, which require large admission fees to attend, and last for a
few more days than the Expo. The Expo is open for a number of days
(generally three or four), and attendees can visit the exhibits set up by
hardware manufacturers and software publishers that support the Macintosh platform.
There has been some discussion among critics about the necessity of having
two Macworld events in the United States at a time when non-Mac focused
events such as COMDEX are encountering financial trouble. Additionally, as
Apple continues to expand its retail presence in the US market, it becomes
easier to shop for Macintosh computers and accessories. The emergence of the
worldwide web has also contributed to the decline in trade shows of
relatively established markets such as the Macintosh business.
The first Macworld Expo occurred in 1985.
Since 1998, the Macworld Conference & Expo has been known for its keynote
presentations by Apple CEO Steve Jobs, though in 2003, Apple appeared to be
moving away from keynote presentations, planning its own (less expensive)
The event in San Francisco has always been held at Moscone Center.
The Eastern US event was held simultaneously at Bayside Expo & Executive
Conference Center and at the Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center in Boston
from its inception, but was moved to New York City's Jacob K. Javits
Convention Center in 1998.
In 1998, the New York Event inaugurated a competition (produced by Double
Exposure) called the National Macintosh Gaming Championship, which
challenged attendees to play games for a number of premium prize packages.
The event continued in 1999 in San Francisco, and was terminated after the
New York show in 2000 to make way for the Apple Gaming Pavilion.
In 2003, IDG World Expo announced plans to move the 2004 East coast show
back to Boston, which prompted the ire of Apple executives. Apple threatened
not to exhibit at the final New York show, which caused potential exhibitors
to delay their own commitments to the show. IDG World Expo responded by
renaming the show CREATE, and narrowing (or broadening) the show's focus to
the creative professional market. Recognizing the branding value of the
Macworld name, The show was renamed once again to Macworld CreativePro
Conference & Expo.
The show has taken place in other cities, historically. A Tokyo show,
produced by IDG World Expo Japan, was held at Makuhari Messe and moved to
Tokyo Big Sight in 2002. Macworld Expo Summit, a version of the show
targeted at U.S. government customers, was held at the Washington Convention
Center in Washington, D.C. as late as 1994.
Historically, the event has drawn more diverse crowds than other technology
trade shows, as Apple's often fanatical customer base made up a significant
portion of the show's attendance.
In its heyday, it was legendary for the parties that coincided with it,
frequently with open bars, lavish hors d'oeuvres, and requisite t-shirts and
other premium favors. Apple's developer parties featured high-profile
entertainers like James Brown and Smashmouth.
MacWEEK had an exclusive party known as Mac the Knife, named for its
anonymous columnist that wrote the back page industry gossip and rumor
section; after MacWEEK's demise, the party was thrown by Ilene Hoffman,
until Mac Publishing, owners of the Mac the Knife trademark, forbade her
from using the name. The party continued, with appearances by the Macworld
All-Star Band, under a series of names that referenced the Knife.
For four years at the New York show, MacAddict hosted a private dinner
cruise on the Hudson River for its advertisers. Macworld schedules its
annual Editor's awards ceremony for the night before the show in San
Francisco. Macworld, MacAddict, and macHOME each hosted parties for
advertisers as well.
Robert Hess of MacWEEK was the original keeper of the Macworld Party List,
which kept track of each leisure event after the show. Prior to his death in
1996, he reportedly requested Ilene Hoffman to maintain it; the list was
subsequently renamed the Robert Hess Memorial Events List. The list shrunk
gradually as events became more sparse, and did not publish for the show in
New York 2003.