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IDG pulls plug on Macworld Boston

Two years after the East Coast version of the Macworld Expo made a controversial move to Boston, sponsor says no more.

Two years after the East Coast version of the Macworld Expo made a controversial move to Boston, IDG World Expo is pulling the plug on the event.

IDG announced plans in October 2002 to move the show from New York to Boston, with Apple Computer immediately announcing that it would not join IDG in the move. With Apple gone, attendance dropped substantially, prompting a move this year to the smaller Hynes Convention Center.

"We did it for two years in Boston without Apple," said IDC World Expo spokesman Mike Sponseller. However, he said, in talking with exhibitors and others, it became clear that there was not enough demand for future shows. Sponseller said the final decision to cancel the event was made Friday.

The twice-yearly Macworld Expo has been a primary event for the Mac community, particularly as a gathering point to hear the latest pronouncements from CEO Steve Jobs. Apple still takes part in the San Francisco show, with Jobs using the event to make key announcements each January.

However, the Boston version languished without Apple. Whereas the New York event drew tens of thousands, only about 8,000 people attended each of the Boston gatherings.

Apple has been increasingly staggering its product introductions throughout the year, and executives frequently note that the monthly traffic in Apple's retail stores amounts to many times that of a single Macworld Expo.

Shortly after this year's Boston show, IDG issued a press release in which its top trade show executive said he was "very pleased by the success" of the event and said that IDG was looking forward to next year.

"After that, we did a lot of research in the marketplace with exhibitors, with a lot of people in the industry," Sponseller said. "It just became clear that the industry wants one big, main event."

The 2006 show had been slated for July 10 to July 13.

Sponseller said the cancellation of the Boston event will allow his company to concentrate on the San Francisco show. He noted that attendance at that event has been growing, with audience numbers up 11 percent this year from 2004, to 36,000.

"The San Francisco show is definitely growing," he said. "By focusing all of our energies on it, it will get even stronger."