Apple announced this week that the keynote at this years Macworld Expo will not be delivered by Steve Jobs. There’s no doubting that this is a disappointment and has killed a lot of interest in the conference but to be honest it is probably one of the most intelligent moves Apple have made in a while.
The media is full of talk of Steve being too ill to deliver the address this year but I don’t believe this for a second. I think there are probably four reasons why Apple are toning down their participation Macworld 2009, their final Macworld. The first reason is pride. You have to remember that large companies such as Adobe have already pulled out of the event. Steve Jobs does not take part in second rate shows and I’m afraid after watching others withdraw that’s probably how it was beginning to look. This years show will probably be pure sales figures and some marketing but not much else.
The second reason is Bill Gates, or more accurately no more Bill Gates. The Jobs keynote always competed with the Bill G keynote at CES for media time and Jobs had to have a certain amount of satisfaction watching Macworld get so much hype. With Gates now gone however Jobs is free to pull out knowing that the competition on that front is over.
The third reason is a possible lack of any major announcements. Since Steve’s last two event’s of 2008 have produced little to no surprises he probably has no intention of walking out on stage and basically delivering a state of the company address to people who have paid a lot of money to hear an, “and finally…”. Steve doesn’t do disappointment.
The forth reason is the most important reason of them all, the element of surprise. With Apple being forced to show new products in the first week of January each year people would begin to start searching for product information in December. Removing these sort of shows from the calendar allow the Cupertino company to deliver products at any time of the year with very little notice. Bringing back the element of surprise will bring back one of the strengths that Apple lost recently.
image from atsuki.net
Anyway you look at it there are plenty of good business reasons for Apple to pull out of Macworld before you look anywhere near Steve’s health.