No more Macworld keynotes for Jobs

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has given his last keynote address at Macworld in San Francisco.

The company announced on Tuesday afternoon in the US that January's Macworld would mark its last year participating at the show, which is run by publishing company IDG. In addition, Apple said Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing, would deliver the 2009 keynote, usually handled by Jobs.

"Phil is giving the keynote because this will be Apple's last year at the show," Apple spokesman Steve Dowling said. "It doesn't make sense for us to make a major investment in a trade show we will no longer be attending."

Apple appears to be declaring that it no longer needs industry events like Macworld to get its message out. The company has 250 retail stores around the world that draw millions of people a week, and its web site is among the top 10 sites, in terms of traffic, on the internet.

IDG and Apple have had a rocky relationship in the past. Apple used to participate in far more Macworld events than the San Francisco event, and a rift developed between the companies when IDG made the decision to move the Macworld event in New York to Boston, near the company's Framingham headquarters. Apple promptly pulled out of that event, and the East Coast Macworld was cancelled in 2005 due to lack of interest without the star attraction.

An IDG representative did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

The decision to have Jobs skip Macworld does not necessarily mean that his days as Apple's primary spokesman are over. It seems that Apple is planning to shift its resources toward producing its own events, such as the annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June and the September iPod/music event.

But much of the company's vaunted marketing buzz has come from Macworld, which, unlike those other events, allows Apple fans on the street to purchase a ticket and gawk at new Apple gear on display. It's not clear at the moment whether Apple plans to introduce an event that fulfills a similar function, but that will be interesting to watch.

Schiller's keynote address will take place at 9AM PT on Tuesday, January 6.


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