This article originally appeared in TidBITS on 1998-07-13 at 12:00 p.m.
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It's a Small Show, After All

by Adam C. Engst

The first Macworld Expo to be held in New York City was marked by smallish crowds, few exhibitors, and little in the way of exciting new products. Most notable were the paucity of attendees and exhibitors; after the crush of the crowds in both San Francisco and Boston in recent years, plus the need for multiple exhibition halls in Boston, this year's Macworld NYC seemed adrift in the enormous Jacob Javits Convention Center.

The show started on a promising note - Steve Jobs's keynote was packed, and the press line stretched far back into the recesses of the Javits Center. But then, after I participated in a panel and finally made it upstairs to the show floor, I couldn't help but ask, "This is it?"

The raw size of the show was well down from previous years, and although the number of vendors may not have been much smaller than at earlier shows, more exhibitors had small booths or tiny kiosks rather than the extravagant pavilions of yesteryear. The show size will undoubtedly be greeted with glee by Apple bashers, but I'm convinced that Apple's current fortunes are unrelated to the show size. Based on numerous discussions with exhibitors and attendees, here's what I think happened:

The organizers of this year's Macworld Expo are applying an old saying to New York City: it's a great place to visit, but you wouldn't want to live there. Next year, Macworld Expo will return to Boston's World Trade Center (and the new Seaport Hotel complex) from August 4th through 6th. Although IDG Expo Management failed to provide any real rationale for moving Macworld back to Boston, complaints from exhibitors and attendees must have played a significant role. Interestingly, the east coast Seybold Seminars exposition is also moving back to Boston after two years in New York City, reportedly "in direct response to popular demand among both the vendor/exhibitor community and attendees." Along with other issues, it sounds like the city of Boston took steps to lure these shows back.