Earlier this week, from Cupertino via the corporate blog, Apple announced that this will be the last year that the company will exhibit at Macworld Expo. The opening keynote for this year's Macworld Conference and Expo will be delivered by Philip Schiller, senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, Apple’s last keynote at the show. Apple can directly reach its customers at retail stores (3.5 million people visit every week) and their retail Web site (hundred million customers). In recent years they scaled back at trade shows, including NAB, Macworld NY, Macworld Tokyo and Apple Expo in Paris. By phasing out trade show presence, Apple is making the transition to an even more proprietary form of promotion. With thousands of attendees at such events, reactions are widely varied and impossible to control. While this change has provoked reactions by journalists, the effects will likely all be favorable from a corporate perspective. Apple's prowess for precisely formed presentations suggests the public would receive more carefully crafted first-hand looks, optimally flattering and fool-proof over a blog review.
This announcement not only brought into question Apple's marketing strategies, but the direction of leadership. Discussions began immediately after the announcement regarding the health of CEO Steve Jobs, mentioning a previous cancer battle and related surgery. Morbid predictions aside, many simply lament the loss of the famously entertaining annual performance by the man. Perhaps because of this news, or a lack of a verified high-profile product, Apple shares opened lower the day after the announcement.
Tuesday morning, CNBC reported that the absence of Steve Jobs has to do with Apple's shift of marketing attention, their sources said. Since the company is shifting attention from the trade shows to direct communications with consumers, Jim Goldman's conclusion is that Jobs' health is not an issue.