Comdex cancelled due to lack of interest

MediaLive International said on Wednesday that it is cancelling this year's Comdex trade show because of a lack of support from the industry's biggest IT vendors.

"While we could still run a profitable Comdex this year, it does not benefit the industry to do so without broader support of the leading technology companies," Robert Priest-Heck, MediaLive's president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

MediaLive said the show is "postponed" rather than cancelled, while an advisory board looks at how to redesign Comdex to make it more appealing. But it also said in its statement that the next Comdex will take place in November 2005, suggesting that this year's event won't happen at all.

Other Comdex events around the world, including shows in Korea, Scandinavia, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and Greece, will go ahead as planned, the company said.

Attendance at Comdex had been in decline since the Internet bubble burst, from about 200,000 in 2000 to 125,000 in 2003. Many attendees said the show had grown too big and unfocused, and a rival Las Vegas event, January's Consumer Electronics Show, became the place to be for high-tech vendors.

MediaLive tried to reinvent Comdex last year as a smaller, more focussed gathering purely for enterprise IT buyers. But it attracted only 40,000 attendees, about 20 percent short of its target. Siebel Systems, Microsoft and Computer Associates International all had prominent booths, and Dell was back at the show for the first time in several years. But many of the big enterprise vendors, such as Oracle, SAP, Hewlett-Packard and BEA Systems, had little or no presence at last year's event.

MediaLive said it has established an advisory board to figure out how to rebuild the event. The board includes representatives from Microsoft, Intel, Advanced Micro Devices, Oracle, EMC, Borland Software, Cisco Systems, Dell and others, the company said.

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