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Daily Debrief: Can you hold a Macworld without Mac's maker?A double bolt from the blue: Apple CEO Steve Jobs will not speak at January's Macworld show. What's more, Apple has announced that this will be the last Macworld in which it participates. On the CNET News Daily Debrief, Charles Cooper and Tom Krazit examine...
[ music ] >> If you happen to have a ticket for this coming January's MacWorld conference, bronze it, because it's the last one. Welcome to the CNET News Daily Debrief. I'm Charlie Cooper here with our colleague Tom Krazit [assumed spelling]. Yesterday the news came off the wire. No Steve Jobs at the January '09 MacWorld, and that's gonna be the last one. My initial reaction, WTF, what the phenegal? Explain this. >> Well, just to make one point clear. This is the last MacWorld with Apple's participation. >> Correct. >> IDG has actually come out and said that they are going to host MacWorld 2010, which will be the lamest trade show ever. But in any event, this trade show in 2009 will be Apple's last at MacWorld. And Jobs isn't even gonna show up. Phil Schiller's gonna do the honors, which means that - >> That's gonna be a big draw. >> It basically means nothing is going to happen. I mean you can't expect anything significant to come out January's announcements. Now I mean you might see some upgraded Mac Minis, you might see some upgraded iMacs. And what I really think you'll see is a half an hour demonstration of Snow Leopard, the forthcoming update to Mac OS. >> Do we have any indication from Apple why it decided to pull out going forward? >> The party line is that Apple feels the trade shows are no longer the most effective way to reach its customers. And there is some truth to that. I mean you know, the trade show thing is kind of an outdated you know, method these days. I mean you know, with the internet having the reach that it does, with Apple having the network of retail stores that it does, I mean they have you know, ways to reach people far beyond you know, this trade show kind of scenario, which was really only you know, a business to business kind of thing, and an event for the most die hard faithful Mac fans. >> Right. And Comdex used to be the granddaddy, it's gone. >> And even CES you know, is, I think there's growing pains with CES now. You know, I mean when you go to these shows you realize kind of how useless they are. You wander around these huge floors, and you talk to people, and you look at the booths. But you know, in the end I mean how valuable an experience really is that? >> Apple's in a much better situation than it was when Jobs arrived for the second tour of duty. And like Microsoft, Microsoft doesn't have a Microsoft world, it has selected developer conferences, or customer conferences, or the occasional press conference when it needs. >> I mean I think that's gonna be the interesting thing to see is whether or not Apple goes ahead and does something like MacWorld on its own. I mean it produces you know, four or five of its own major events every year, you know, such as the developer's conference in June, it's held an annual iPod music event in September the last five years or so. You know, I mean it knows how to do that. And you know, one nice thing about running your own conference is that you get all the profit with it too. >> Not a bad business, if you can pull it off. Of course now the speculation, why is Steve Jobs missing in action. I don't want to go too far in this direction, but of course people are gonna raise the health question. What do we know about this? >> It has to be discussed. You know, I mean the first time this came around in June, you know, I sort of felt that people were jumping to conclusions way too much based on the way the man looked on stage. But this is weird. The timing of this is very strange. Why did Apple wait until three weeks before its Super Bowl to announce that its quarterback wasn't gonna start. I mean that's a bizarre way of handling the situation, and it really makes you wonder what exactly is going on inside the company. Whether or not some major product was scheduled to arrive at MacWorld and simply could not be ready in time, whether or not Jobs really is not feeling well, and simply didn't want to appear on stage at MacWorld, and then have another round of speculation go off again. You know, they can deflect that you know, by saying oh well we're not doing any more MacWorlds, so it's not that big a deal. You know, maybe that was something they had planned all along, you know, that they, that 2009 was gonna be their last MacWorld. But to announce it before that MacWorld, rather than let Steve go out on stage giving the last MacWorld keynote address himself? It's just odd, and - >> Very odd. But we will have Phil Schiller. >> Well, got to love the Phil note. [ background music ] >> And on that note, for the CNET News Daily Debrief, I'm Charlie Cooper.