HP cancels user group conference

HP World, the major systems conference for Hewlett-Packard that has in the past drawn thousands of enterprise customers, has been canceled, according to the conference co-chair and the vice chairman of the sponsoring user group, Interex. The conference was scheduled to take place Aug. 14-18 in San Francisco.

Conference co-chair Greg Cagle notified HP users on a company mailing list for HP 3000 customers late Sunday night of the decision, and he confirmed his note Monday. He said Interex laid off its staff late last week and believed the best thing to do was to alert HP users. "It has been canceled," he said of the event.

Denys Beauchemin, the vice chairman of Interex's board, also confirmed the news. He said he couldn't discuss the reasons and suggested that those interested in the event and why it was canceled should keep an eye out for news on the Interex Web site. "Right now there are some legal things that we have to go through," he said.

Officials at Interex, which has approximately 100,000 members, couldn't be reached this morning. There was nothing on the Interex or HP World Web sites this morning indicating any changes.

Cagle, a conference volunteer, said he didn't know all the reasons for the cancellation, but said he believed HP's decision to hold a conference in September was a likely factor. "Let's face it: You had two competing conferences."

The loss of HP World isn't a good thing for the company's users, said Cagle. "HP World was more of a user-focused conference," he said. "It's a loss.

HP last year announced plans to hold its own technical conference.

HP World, like most user group conferences, has seen a decline in attendance since 2000, when 12,000 people attended the conference. In recent years the number of attendees was about half that size.

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