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Comdex The Almighty Buck Technology

Comdex Canceled For 2004 185

Posted by timothy
from the who-moved-the-cheese dept.
Stephen Shankland writes "Comdex is canceled -- at least for 2004. The once-imposing tech event lost out to trade shows for specialized niches and consumer electronics, but the Comdex organizers want to bring it back in 2005, according to an executive quoted in our story at CNET News.com."
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Comdex Canceled For 2004

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  • by SamTheButcher (574069) * on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @03:30PM (#9510831) Journal
    The 90's are truly dead....
    • I totally agree. Awesome lineup, and cheap...the Toronto show was sold out long ago (or very close to it IIRC). Oh well, guess I'll have to find something else to do with my time. Comdex has been going downhill since '99 or so anyways. Waiting for the next big trade show to take control.
    • by Pii (1955)
      Has anyone heard about whether or not the AVN awards will follow suit!?

      (AVN Awards not linked because I'm at work... Sorry porn fans.)

    • well part of lollapalooza's failure has to be due to the fact that they cleverly scheduled almost all of the shows for weekdays, since the chronically unemployed are a great market for $100 tickets.
      • I was wondering if it was the two-day format (can take one day off, but not two) or that the bands were a bit older, appealing more to the "gotta take off work" crowd than the "neato, this is during my summer vacation, I'll borrow $100 from mom and dad" crowd.
    • Maybe they'll combine venues and return together next year. Imagine Steve Jobs singing along with Morrisey!
  • Shame (Score:1, Insightful)

    by deltwalrus (234362)
    Narrowcasting does in another hallmark of the industry. What's the bet that when it does return, it's a shadow of itsformer self?
    • by eln (21727)
      It's been a shadow of its former self for years.
    • What's the bet that when it does return, it's a shadow of itsformer self?

      It needs to be a shadow of its former self. The damn show had become un-navigable, sinking beneath its own bloat. Was it a consumer show? A B2B show? There just wasn't enough common ground to bridge everything it tried to be.

      Once upon a time, computer use in our lives was fairly niche-ified, and the geek in each company was sort of the tech-ombudsman across the board for all his enterprise's needs. Having a "Computer Show" thes
  • Smart move (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kneecarrot (646291) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @03:31PM (#9510845)
    I for one think this is a good move. Regroup and try to make it better than ever for 2005. I've attended the last 3 or 4 and have see it slowly losing the spark it once had.
    • Please, dont start with "I for one..."

      I was expecting somethig with welcomming overlords etc.
  • by heldlikesound (132717) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @03:32PM (#9510850) Homepage
    This is an outrage, where am I supposed to get my stress balls, beeping rubber balls, and caffeinated mints from this year!!!

    Is there a way to bypass the conference go right for the swag?
    • by OcabJ (13938)
      The last Comdex I went to was in 2002. The free swag was non-existent. No hot booth girls. Same old product, different year.

      I ended up hitting the tables for the rest of the week.

      YEEEEEAAAAH!!!
    • Is there a way to bypass the conference go right for the swag?

      Yep:

      • Here [thinkgeek.com] or
      • Here [computergear.com].

      Of course, you may have to actually pay for the stuff this time . . .

      • "Of course, you may have to actually pay for the stuff this time . . ."

        Yeah, but for what you would pay to actually go to Comdex just think how much swag you could BUY.

        The trick is to get your company to pay for Comdex like they always have. Just ask for a check and tell them you will make all the arrangements yourself. Buy your swag. Dig up some interesting technical news using Google. Turn in your trip report just like you always have. (Nobody ever reads those things anyway).

        Profit!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Stop thinking of yourself. Think of all the unskilled tech writers who use Comdex for six month of stories.
    • by XaviorPenguin (789745) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @04:02PM (#9511197) Homepage Journal
      Obligatory Red VS Blue [redvsblue.com] Quote by Sarge of the RED Army:

      "...And then I want you to collect a bunch of free give-away crap like pens and mousepads and those little squish ball things. I love those little ball things! I had one once, can't remember where I got it. It hardly seems important at this stage.................I shore do like poofy things!"
      ----Taken from PSA #4 titled "Hey, Time Out"
    • Comdex Canada has been cancelled for 2 years in a row now; for all I know is now shut down. I've noticed the last few years they've slowly decreased the size. When I first started going it was in both the SkyDome AND the Toronto Convention Centre. Later, it was only the convention centre, and in the last year, they used about half of one of the main halls in the convention centre.

      I've also noticed the coolness factor of the free things being given away at comdex has decreased over the last few years.
  • MS Comdex (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Comdex will return next year, but named as Microsoft Comdex . I'm not kidding either.
  • Wow (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ag3nt (790820) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @03:33PM (#9510874)
    That is interesting, it was cancelled 2 years ago, but was brought back almost a month after its cancellation. I have always looked forward to Comdex and are personally downtrodden that it is gone(for now anyway). Budget issues are always a problem when it comes to huge conventions such as Comdex, Networld Interop, and Brainshare. Renting out a convention center and providing programs and conferences for the attendees can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Especially with times being as they are, I can understand why this event might have been cancelled even though the press release did not cover the reason...
    • I have always looked forward to Comdex and are personally downtrodden that it is gone

      Downtrodden means "oppressed or tyrannized." I think the word you're looking for is "crestfallen" :-)

    • This may be one of those stupid juggler tricks.. Hey! Watch me juggle 9 chainsaws.. and they drop some chainsaws a few times... Then.. a sudden miracle happens and they can do it!! Everyone feels like they've witnessed/ took part in an amazing feat!

      Comdex... Cancel once.. resurrected a month later! Yay glad I could take part in what could be "the last one"!

      Just once, I'd like to see the chainsaw land on an important part....

  • A Shame (Score:5, Funny)

    by cerebralsugar (203167) * on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @03:35PM (#9510893)
    Comdex cancelled , yet geeks dressed up like mr spock live on at star trek conventions. God really is cruel.
  • Too bad, but this is just evolution of the market. Does there really need to be a "replacement"?
  • Hmmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Otter (3800) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @03:35PM (#9510901) Journal
    I've got to think the Internet must have played a huge role, too. There isn't nearly as much need to fly across the country and spend thousands of dollars to learn about new products and demo them. Anyway, Las Vegas won't be missing the biggest bunch of cheapskates to tie up tens of thousands of rooms every year.

    Since we now have a Comdex story topic and now Comdex, maybe this is a good opportunity to revamp? Adding a Gentoo topic, for example, or a casemod topic?

    • by Ag3nt (790820)
      Although I partially agree with your comment, you can never replace a person to person meeting. Many companies who do major business insist on meeting with their clients to demo a product or discuss improvements/specification or purchasing information. As someone once said, the world is getting smaller. Many people say that before long, you won't ever need to leave your house to work, shop for things, interact. In my opinion though you can't replace in-person interaction...
      • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Interesting)

        by swb (14022)
        But how much interaction and hands-on can you *really* get at a trade show? At the few that I've been to, the best it might get is a backroom at a booth or maybe a hotel meeting room with a more in-depth setup.

        Even then, you're unlikely to be buying from the trade show rep, there's likely a sales office/person that represents your geographical area, or maybe you even have to go through a reseller.

        Sometimes you get weird inspirations at trade shows simply because there's so much to see, but often it just
    • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Interesting)

      by doormat (63648) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @04:10PM (#9511283) Homepage Journal
      "Anyway, Las Vegas won't be missing the biggest bunch of cheapskates to tie up tens of thousands of rooms every year."

      My dad sells food to the casinos and when I told him he wasnt too happy, even 50,000 people eat a lot of food. At least Defcon [defcon.org] is still around.
    • by poopie (35416) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @04:59PM (#9511795) Journal
      Heard this about a decade ago at Comdex from people working in Las Vegas...

      "The typical Comdex attendee brings a white shirt and a twenty dollar bill with them, and during the week, neither gets changed!"
  • Games(Warhammer Online), Festivals(Lollapalooza), and now Comdex? What's next, 3DRealms announcing that nothing ever got done on DNF? Oh, wait...
  • Security jitters? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 14erCleaner (745600) <FourteenerCleaner@yahoo.com> on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @03:37PM (#9510916) Homepage Journal
    The article claims that "security jitters" are keeping corporate types from travelling, thus hurting attendance. Is it possible that the TSA's reign of terror [slashdot.org] against airline passengers is more responsible?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      yet 24,000 people attended Siggraph 2003. Maybe people are just going to shows that have interesting stuff?
    • No way (Score:4, Informative)

      by sulli (195030) * on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @04:08PM (#9511269) Journal
      People might give security as an excuse, but it's a big fat lie. It's all about the bucks. Trade shows are simply a waste of money in this day and age.

    • That doesn't stop me from going to TelecomXX. It's every four years, and it's a blast to hang out in and around Geneva for a few weeks...

      Telecom99 almost killed me as I was tagged as set-up, infrastructure support, tear-down, AND daily booth duty (swag distributor). On the plus side, however, I was in a state of culinary orgasm pretty much the entire time. It also didn't hurt that our booth was conveniently close to the ever-present Moet Chandon booth...
  • by SkyWalk423 (661752) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @03:38PM (#9510930) Homepage Journal
    for the /. nerds to leave the basement.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @03:40PM (#9510949)
    ...booth babes. They gotta eat.
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @03:40PM (#9510950) Homepage
    I went to Itec not long ago and will never attend again. it was 1/5th the size from 2 years ago and everyone had this desperate "please talk to us" look on their faces at all booths.

    shows in general are pretty much useless.. overpriced tickets to see a talk by someone who is going to rehash what they said for free online and you already read, and the schwag has turned into crud.
    • shows in general are pretty much useless..

      How the hell can you say that? For many people the company pays for your ticket and room, you get the hell out of the office for a few days, you get to forget about your usual work, you get to see a different city, and you get to drink a lot.

      Who the hell cares whether the actual content of the show is any good?

      • This is actually a pretty insightful comment - trade shows at tourist locations like Vegas are often "benefits" handed out to worthy employees as a sort of present, even though the value of it is pretty questionable. It's basically a legitimate way to give an employee a semi-work-related reward without every other lobster in the office pissing about them getting a free vacation.
    • ITEC shot themselves in the foot. Our local unix users group in Southeastern Virginia participated a year or two ago. We gave out about 400 sets of free linux CDs, had a good attendance and were welcomed by both the visitors and show staff.

      Then the next year, cold sholder. "We want to act more like a training event" was the message. ITEC thought they could charge $400 admission and run some educational material to try to clue-i-fy IT managers or something.

      Whatever. Garbage in, Garbage out. It was fun
    • The last trade show I went to was Networld/Interop, back in '97 (I think). Is it still around and how it it doing? Anyone?

      I just can't justify the couple of grand trade shows cost my employer, so I don't go in spite of having one trip allocated per admin per year in the budget. I can get the marketing spiel online, as well as archives of booth babe pics (e3girls, anyone? :), so where's the real incentive to even go to trade shows anymore?

      Sorta the same reason I don't subscribe to computer rags anymor

  • And lollapalooza (Score:1, Redundant)

    by hey (83763)
    I guess times are changing.
  • Saw this coming (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @03:43PM (#9510982)
    Comdex was more than a place for tea and crumpets, it was a place where average Joe IT could come, check out the babeage, get the toys, drool at the pundification, and check out all the cool techtoys to recommend to their bosses. It was the engine of the soul of IT.

    About the time of the .dotcom kabloom, Comdex bosses thought they were finally in the uppity ranks, and closed it all off except to 'vips' and other fortune50-exclusive folks. No more parties, just drivle from the big guys. They took out all the reason to go.

    Then again, they were innovators in showing the rest of the industry how to commit suicide by banning their customers and throwing away their products. Too bad there's nothing left to part out.
    • About the time of the .dotcom kabloom, Comdex bosses thought they were finally in the uppity ranks, and closed it all off except to 'vips' and other fortune50-exclusive folks.

      If true, that's a sign that they were hurting for cash. Here's how it works: You close it all off except to "VIP" type people. Then you turn around to all the potential sponsors and say, "Hey look, 92.4 percent of our audience is exactly the type of business decision makers whom you want to reach with your message. And according to

  • Macworld / WWDC (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tirefire (724526)
    I don't care what happens as long as I can get my webcast fix of keynotes at Macworld and the WWDC. Anyway, doesn't admission to these kinds of things cost ~$1500? I can see why, at this price, no one would want to go...
    • Re:Macworld / WWDC (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dknight (202308)
      You could get out of paying if they thought you were special. Heck, I recieved invitations every single year to attend, and was never expected to pay for it.
  • by oldstrat (87076) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @03:46PM (#9511011) Journal

    Comdex lost track sometime in the 90's but the real end was in 1995 when it was sold to Softbank.

    It went from being a twice yearly Mecca to being a monthly, or bimonthly travelling international 'Disneyland' for marketing.

    Prior to the infiltration by 'Windows World' it had been the hard core contact point for developers, implementors, and users, all feeding and grooming the craft (with the spice of some good natured marketing).

    There is a real need for what Comdex was just as there is still a need for the every other year show of photographics at Photokina in Koln Germany.

    Let Comdex lay in it's grave, quiet in silent repose, and start something unique and alive in the spitit of the original Comdex.
  • by PornMaster (749461) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @03:46PM (#9511016) Homepage
    Does the declining attendance reflect the fact that employers are less willing to waste/invest money sending people to "Gee Whiz" conventions?

    -PM
  • The first step towards fixing Comdex is to get a good keynote speaker.

    Ideally, someone with a clue.

    The previous guy was almost always wrong.
  • by CarrionBird (589738) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @03:49PM (#9511039) Journal
    The IT business is quite fond of eating its young.

    In other news, check out the interview with Boucher linked on that page. At least he seems to actually be thinking about these things, instead of just following orders.

  • Quick! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Blame it on [choose]MS/Apple/Linux!
  • by blueZhift (652272) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @03:53PM (#9511101) Homepage Journal
    The passing of Comdex kinda reminds me of when the Playboy Clubs in North America closed down back in the early 1980s (I think). It's the passing of an era, which in itself is not a bad thing. Things change and evolve and there's always the next big thing on the horizon.

    Comdex was killed by a number of things. The internet makes physically attending shows less necessary. Not only that with so many thousands of IT jobs sent overseas, many of those who might have attended in the past are no longer in IT at all. And the current generation of technology (I know, not well defined) has matured somewhat. There just isn't much in the way of mind blowing, paradigm shifting technologies that demand a Comdex. And heck, the consumer tech oriented shows like CES or E3 are more fun!

    Will Comdex really be back? Who knows? I won't cry if it isn't because when the time is right, something new and exciting will arrive on the scene. Afterall, the Playboy Club is still gone, but now we have Hooters! ;-) Buh-dump dump!

  • It's about time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by spidergoat2 (715962) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @03:56PM (#9511129) Journal
    Ten years ago, computer shows used to be a lot of fun. Vendors had interesting displays, they had non computer related activities, they handed out lotsa cool wampum (swag). Last five years have been BORING at best. I just stopped going. I can get all the product information I need off the web. If vendors can't provide the carnival enviroment I need to make me want to go, well, fine. Comdex has left the building.
  • about time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mabu (178417) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @04:04PM (#9511213)
    I used to exhibit at Comdex in the late 80s and early 90s and it was fun back then, with the exception of the facist Interface Group organization that used to run the thing and would take advantage of everyone they could. Exhibitors would pay years in advance to get a good space and then other people would show up at the last minute with cash and IG would give them premium exhibit space. It was a huge sham. I stopped attending years ago when it got so big that you needed a passport to get from one side of the convention to the other.

    I'm sure locals in Vegas are probably thrilled. Most of them hated Comdex anyway.
  • Las Vegas will survive (and survive quite well) but this has to hurt. They charged room rates during COMDEX like New Orleans charged for Mardi Gras, a lot of money per night and a minimum stay requirement of up to five days at some properties. Some places were completely booked by just one or two companies.

    No COMDEX means a thousands of people will be getting a bit less pay and/or smaller year end bonuses.

    I wonder if the 'net played some role in this. I mean some booths had nothing but one or two market

    • Re:Sucks for Vegas (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MtViewGuy (197597) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @04:38PM (#9511610)
      Not really.

      Actually, Las Vegas resorts dread COMDEX because the attendees tend to be cheapskates that leave very little money at the gambling tables.

      The resorts actually make FAR more money from the National Finals Rodeo in December, where people attending this rodeo tend to be big spenders that do like to gamble.
      • They make more from the NASCAR crowd in March than they ever made from Comdex. The only losers are the union trolls who set up and wire the booths.
      • According to an unnamed reliable inside source (I can't remember the cab drivers name), tips from COMDEX attendees far outstrip those from conventions attended by doctors.

        If the casino owners have a gripe, it may be that COMDEX attendees posess basic math skills. This is an area in which cowboys are not known to shine.
  • by debian4life (701155) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @04:09PM (#9511277)
    Just hold it in India. What better representation of the Tech/IT industry could there be.

  • by Spencerian (465343) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @04:17PM (#9511353) Homepage Journal
    My problem with Comdex was that it wasn't a particularly attractive show. Because most tech on display was heavily influenced, in my opinion, by Microsoft work, the show got the nickname of Windex. As a result over the years, the less creative Microsoft became, the less interesting the shows became. Fewer people and exhibitors attended, and you see the result.

    Sorry, as a Mac tech, I don't do Windows, primarily. Today, in this world where viable alternatives to MS tech are plentiful, other companies are considering Linux, Mac OS X and other UNIX-derived tech and not looking back.
  • by telemonster (605238) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @04:18PM (#9511371) Homepage
    I heard it's in Bangladesh.
  • I am not surprised. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by changa (197280) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @04:21PM (#9511410) Homepage

    Last year I worked tech at some of the press shows around Comdex and since I hadn't been to Comdex in years I just HAD to make it to the show.

    Nothing went right... Time was not in my favor but I managed on my last day to make it to the main show.

    With only 6 hours left to my trip I went into the show and saw it all in 2 hours.

    At least I had Vegas to check out for the rest of the time.
  • I've wanted to go to Comdex for years, but never could swing it time-wise or money-wise. There used to be a local "computer fair" at the University of Washington that I enjoyed going to, but that came to an end some years ago. {sigh} Oddly enough, I had a dream just last night about being at a trade show with my parents and showing them how to find and collect the various freebies...??

  • Back in the 80's, Comdex was cool. Exhibits were about new technology... innovation and stuff. Then in the 90's, it went all glitz and hollywood. Why bother going?

    That's why it's dead. It's just not INTERESTING anymore. It's kinda like Windows... pretty on the outside (to some people), but absolutely nothing interesting underneath.

  • [checking calendar] ...it's not April 1.

    [pause]

    !!!!

    Oh my god!!! What will the booth babes do now?!!
  • Yup--'bout time (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MrRee (120132)
    Last time I went was in 1996 i believe--the last year in Atlanta. It had already become a showcase for Windows and pretty much nothing else. Might as well have called it MS-Comdex.

    I hate to see it go, but if it's time to go let it go.
  • What about the poor hard working strippers at strip clubs? They love geeks.
  • Public trade shows in general are dying, IMO. Before, they served as a big marketplace of new stuff, but with the internet at the level it's at now, there's nothing new once you hit the tradeshow floor as you've heard about it already.

    Also, since tradeshows are traditionally targetted at business-to-business type transactions and networking, I doubt that shows like Comdex actually netted exhibitors signficant sales. When you get a bunch of geeks wandering around, chatting up exhibitors, but not spending a
    • Insider trade shows are great. I went to PGA West in '96, you would not believe the swag. Even for Las Vegas it was big. I would like to go to Comdex, but will try to get to a Linux show instead.
  • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @07:55PM (#9513443)
    M$ has nothing new to release this year, therefore M$ will not permit there to be a show??? Is this a realistic scenario or is there a hole in my tin-foil hat?
  • Comdex was at its best in the early '90s -- that's when all the big,bad earth shattering kabooms were announced. DesqView... Windows... Gupta SQL... WordPerfect versions... etc... New Intel Chips.

    Everything was timed around comdex. And a lot of companies unloaded the marketing budget, too.

    By 1994 the show was ruined by Microsoft the WindowsWorld sideshow became almost as big as the actual comdex show. Now the industry is so fragmented. By the way - Whatever happened to NBI - makers of Legacy - the be
  • Blame Ziff Davis (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mauriceh (3721) <.moc.ataddrah. .ta. .eciruam.> on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @08:57PM (#9513853) Homepage
    They took a formally outstanding show and turned it into a place for deep pockets only.
    AND made it pretty well a "Retail" show.

    Are big trade shows dead?
    Heck no.

    Computex (May31 - June 4 in Taipei, Taiwan) this year had over 1,000 vendors showing, took over 4 big conference spaces in downtown Taipei surrounding the new 101 centre ( tallest building in the world) and over 100,000 registered attendees.
    http://www.taipeitradeshows.com.tw/com putex/fact_s heet.htm
    There are four good reasons COMDEX is dead:
    1) Ziff Davis made it too expensive, too difficult for smaller vendors/manufacturers.
    You do not go to a show like this to see what HP, Seagate, IBM and Microsoft are doing. They spend vast sums to tell you that in other media.

    2) People from outside N. America do not want to travel to the USA.

    3) US unions. To be a vendor at COMDEX cost about $5,000 for a booth space. And over $10,000 to get your goods in and out by the "show services" monopoly.

    4) It became a "retail" show. You do not spend good money to display at a trade show to meet 10,000 end user "tire kickers".
    You are looking for quality commercial leads. Qualified buyers.
  • I attended Comdex for the first time in 1995, back when the convergence was taking place between multimedia and computer systems. 3D graphics cards were the newest, hottest things, the Pentium 166 was the fastest processor on the market, DVD's were known as Super Density Roms or SD-ROM (and the burners cost $30,000) and USB was unheard of.

    The internet was tiny, compared to what it is now and wasn't even talked about much at the show.

    In 1996, I started a computer consulting company in Utah and every Novemb
  • Hey, this is a attention grabbing, snappy headline ...

    Rumours, of course. But Comdex single biggest booth was rented by Microsoft. Microsoft was p***ed off by the Open-Source pavillions, that comdex offered for free at the last Comdex.

    It's not totally implausibel, that Microsoft said: Us or them. Point.

    Feel free to include your favourite conspiricy theeory here ...

    Bye egghat.

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