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Comdex

The Last Comdex? 211

linuxwrangler writes "Key3Media Group Inc. which produces the Comdex trade show may be unable to make it's debt payments and could declare bankruptcy. No decision will be made until after Fall Comdex opening on Monday. More info is available at Google News."
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The Last Comdex?

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  • Iv always been afraid they were going to stop comdex because of the security risk of having so much people under one roof. Terrorists could have a field day. Oh well, at least it was the american way of going out of business...Bankrupsy:)
  • Mirrors? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 14, 2002 @09:32PM (#4674267)
    Why can't the article poster link the google cached pa... oh, wait a second.
  • by Jason1729 ( 561790 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @09:34PM (#4674280)
    How can they be losing money? They can charge almost anything they want for the booths and the big companies will still pay it.

    Then they turn around and charge the visitors. They win on both sides.
    • by puto ( 533470 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @09:42PM (#4674346) Homepage
      The big vendors always pay for the booths. But I always seem to get tickets for free. By knowing someone. Buying something and they throw in tickets. Has not been to hard to scare up a couple for me.

      I just think the show got to big to handle.

      Theflatline
    • by lseltzer ( 311306 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @10:08PM (#4674463)
      When I started attending in 91 the show literally filled the city, taking the whole LVCC, the whole Sands and space in the Mirage. I haven't been there in a few years but I understand it's less than the whole LVCC now. With that kind of drop in demand they can't charge vendors what they used to.
    • by w1r3sp33d ( 593084 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @10:10PM (#4674476)
      Hmmm, Here is the score as I see it (not an insider) IT market comes out of the flu strong, a couple real bang years where everone started a .com and needed to get to the purchasers, I'll bet booths were big $'s those years because there is only so much space. IT budgets were huge and we were all riding the wave making for great attendance. How much do you think you can command for 8x10 at a show with a dropping attendance (mostly of people with slashed budgets) when the hotels are constantly bringing up the price of space? I wouldn't be surprised if a bankruptcy lawyer convention could afford the halls this year... WOW! a little venting about the economy really makes me feel better!
    • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @10:10PM (#4674478)
      Because large-scale trade show venues cost a fortune to rent, and ever since 9/11 those costs have risen as it has been more expensive to secure such buildings.

      Couple those fixed costs of putting on a show with a decline in display floor companies because a good chunk of former presenters are either bankrupt or cutting back, and less people are being sent by those companies to look and those presenters on the floor.

      Higher costs, lower income... uh oh!
    • by digidave ( 259925 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @10:25PM (#4674541)
      My dad took me to my first Comdex many years ago. He had received free tickets as a business owner. When we got there my sometimes air-headed dad examined the ticket package, ripped off the "unimportant" parts of the paper, and threw the pieces in the garbage. Taking what he thought were the tickets up to the ticket collecter, we then found out that he had thrown out the ticket and kept the advertising crap that came with it.

      "No problem," the nice lady said, "I'll get you new tickets."

      I'll venture a guess and say that tickets weren't how they made money. Once the tech downturn hit I'm sure their booth revenue went way down. This doesn't surprise me one bit.
      • The tickets are also free if you book in advance.. I think their only purpose is to make you register so they know how many people will arrive.

        "I signed up but didn't get the tickets yet" also worked last time I had seen it tried.
    • How can they be losing money?

      Outrageous executive salaries, perhaps?
    • by Jucius Maximus ( 229128 ) <[moc.liamkns] [ta] [ws2bxcne4m]> on Thursday November 14, 2002 @10:35PM (#4674575) Journal
      "How can they be losing money? They can charge almost anything they want for the booths and the big companies will still pay it."

      Because Key3media is one of the most ANNOYING companies on the planet?

      They sent me constant spam for months after the last Comdex I signed up for (free passes, btw) and their remove links never did anything.

      Eventually I found the homepage of the comdex project group on they key3 site and sent every member of the group a 700K image with nothing but the word 'remove' in it. (I think I accidentally crashed their mailserver too, it must have been one of those ones that made a copy of the mail for every person as opposed to linking it.)

      No more spam after that, but damn, a company does not become liked by harassing people that interface with them! I certainly did not go to comdex after that.

    • Not the same anymore (Score:4, Interesting)

      by lingqi ( 577227 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @10:38PM (#4674585) Journal
      Heh... you think renting out the entire McCormick Place (Chicago) for a week is cheap?

      Anyway - most people who goes there are free-riding; the visitor's pass is "supposed" to be 99 dollars or whatever, but you can get it for free ANYWHERE. in fact you can register for it officially on Comdex website too if you do it early enough. They say it's "limited time only" or some such bs, but that's what it is, bs.

      Then again, companies are not showing up to trade shows as much as they used to be, or are renting a smaller booth, becomming a smaller sponsor (i.e. from platinum level down to gold level) or not sponsoring at all. (Sponsoring is when you pay them big bux and they put your logo on the T-shirt / booklets / whatever) - the level of sponsorship determines the size of you logo, where it appears, etc.

      An example (not Comdex) on the low-attendence is this year's ITC (International Test Conference), which is one of the most important conference / tradeshow / whatever for the ATE (automated test equipment) manufactures. Teradyne, Credense, NP Test (read: Schlumberger) all decided to not show up at ALL; no booth, no seminar, no salesperson, nothing. These are some of the biggest names in the industry. I think the only two big-names that did show was Advantest and Agilent (I'm not sure about Agilent, actually).

      As for real paying visitors, they are dropping even more than the companies - Other conferences actually have REAL SEMINARS where people might pay to see, but Comdex, IIRC, never had anything informational.

      Besides, the stupid show went downhill way before the dotcom bubble bursted. Back in 99/00 (i can't remember clearly), they had 1/3 of the floor filled with resellers / distributors that sell cases and powersupplies and such. not even nearly related to "technologically innovative." No new technology, no new information, just a big organized garage sell.

      I still got the free passes to go there for a few years even after that, but every year figured that it was not even worth my time since nothing would be interesting there. I do eventually want to go to E3, though - that still have lots of steam and seem to be actually getting bigger.
    • by ergo98 ( 9391 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @11:36PM (#4674842) Homepage Journal
      Unless you attend special sessions, virtually no one actually pays to attend COMDEX as a visitor. Vendors do pay, but of course the number of vendors has dropped precipitously in the past few years. COMDEX Canada used to fill the entire Toronto Convention Center, however as years passed the "Computer Case and Fans" section grew like a virus, while the software and technology companies shrunk. Now it's a little part of one small section of the convention center. I dropped by at a lunch, but seeing a line figured that it wasn't worth the wait and left.

      Personally I think COMDEX, and trade shows like it, is a relic of the past. The reason is simple: The Internet. In the past it was very difficult for organizations to get the word out about new products, so they actually would pent up all of their launches for the big trade shows when they would unleash their killer video cards (Trident 8990, now with SVGA!), hard drives, software, etc. All of the media was there and they would print it all up, and we'd get the extra-large edition of Computer Shopper or PC Magazine full of COMDEX-released goodies, and it really was an exciting time in the computer world. Nowadays no company actually withholds products until a trade show (well..maybe Apple is the one exception. They still like to do the grand release thing), but instead they let the net do the distribution of information. It really is amazing to think how much this really has changed our industry even though it seems so normal now. Hell, I remember dialing up to the Diamond Multimedia BBS with my 14.4 modem to grab a newer Windows 3.1 driver for my Diamond Speedstar 24x videocard (one of the first supporting a 24-bit colour mode): It was a huge undertaking. Now I'm leaving a message that's readable around the world with ease.
    • by kawika ( 87069 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @11:51PM (#4674902)
      Why is Comdex failing?

      * The Internet. A decade ago the computer print media (mostly Ziff and IDG) controlled the flow of information to computer users. To a great extent, Comdex was a big schmooze fest between press and vendors to get products covered. Ziff and IDG alone each sent hundreds of people. Today people can go out on the Internet and get their computer info from just about anywhere--even Slashdot. Traditional computer pubs are dying left and right because they aren't the critical resource they used to be. They're not sending armies to cover the show, so the vendors see less reason to go.

      * Market consolidation. There used to be lots of big players in the software market: Microsoft, Lotus, Borland, IBM, Computer Associates, etc. All of them would get big booths on the main show floor and compete to see who could grab the most attention. Nowadays it's pretty much Microsoft. The same is happening with hardware, it's down to a handful of major players. A good chunk of the HW market is still locally built white boxes and they don't need to go to Comdex to build brand recognition. The vendors that remain tend to be the Tiawanese motherboard makers who can't afford a big booth.

      * Change in focus. COMDEX is an abbreviation for COMputer Dealer EXposition. It was originally set up so computer dealers could hook up with computer and component makers. Over the years that changed since there are just a handful of computer chains and product buyers for those chains. They tried appealing to an IT audience and emphasized the conference program in an effort to keep the size up, but it's only been marginally successful because there are often more cost-effective ways for companies to get this info.

      * The consumerization of computers (aka, "Dude, you're getting a Dell"). Another case of eliminating the middleman. Companies like Dell sell directly to consumers, they don't need to go to Comdex and haven't done so the last few years. The major vendors handle corporate accounts via one-on-one visits and don't need the excuse of Comdex for that.

      * They DROVE people away. As few as four or five years ago, Comdex was still a must-do for a lot of the PC industry. But you knew you were being screwed. Hotel rooms were $320 in the LV Hilton back then, and the cab line in front of the hotel was an hour long. When it got that bad, people realized it wasn't an effective way to do business. When people and companies started skipping Comdex the last couple of years and the world didn't end, it just proved that Comdex wasn't essential.

      • I'll add the following point -- a company I used to work for was once charged $2000 (that's two THOUSAND dollars) by three union pricks to spend 30 minutes hanging a sign above our booth. Two of them stood around and did nothing while the third operated a crane. The disgusting presence of these unions has permanently turned me off to these kinds of shows. I don't mind paying for floor space, but I won't be extorted so that some jerk with a union card only has to work three weeks a year.
  • JavaOne too? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 2starr ( 202647 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @09:34PM (#4674282) Homepage
    Key3Media did the last JavaOne too? Does this also mean trouble for that conference?
  • Oh no! (Score:5, Funny)

    by ez76 ( 322080 ) <slashdot AT e76 DOT us> on Thursday November 14, 2002 @09:34PM (#4674286) Homepage
    (sounds of hundreds of prostitutes crying over lost revenue)
    • Re:Oh no! (Score:1, Redundant)

      hundreds?

      As a prostitue I'm offended!
    • Not to forget the Casino owners... well, it's time to roll in some more busloads of senior citizens.
      • Re:Oh no! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Dun Malg ( 230075 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @10:17PM (#4674506) Homepage
        Not to forget the Casino owners...

        Interesting side note regarding Las Vegas hotels. For years now they've measured the level of business by how many people they have to turn away. In other words, when they have a "bad month" in Vegas, all that means is that (citywide) they turned away only 30,000 people looking for accomodations, rather than the usual average of 45,000 (numbers are for illustration purposes only, but order of magnitude is close).
        I reckon if COMDEX goes feet up it'll hardly be noticed.
        • Re:Oh no! (Score:3, Interesting)

          by kawika ( 87069 )
          Maybe a few years ago that was true, but LV has brought a lot of new hotel rooms online. I made reservations last Saturday and got the Riviera for $68. I should have waited, I just checked and now you can get plenty of hotels for less than $50 a night all during Comdex! Stardust $29, Riviera $35, Stratosphere $39, Circus Circus $39, Harrah's $49, Excalibur $49.

          • Maybe a few years ago that was true, but LV has brought a lot of new hotel rooms online. I made reservations last Saturday and got the Riviera for $68. I should have waited, I just checked and now you can get plenty of hotels for less than $50 a night all during Comdex! Stardust $29, Riviera $35, Stratosphere $39, Circus Circus $39, Harrah's $49, Excalibur $49.

            Heh heh. You do have a point. I keep forgetting how long it's been since I lived there (6 years now). They have indeed put up a lot since then. I understand the "turnaway" number is still the gauge for New Year's Eve and many weekends, if not so much the weekday convention times anymore.
          • That in itself is a sign of how far down Comdex has come on the local revenue scale. Friend here tells me how the reason he quit going is because the entire Lost Wages hotel industry jacked room prices out of sight for the entire Comdex week, and all reservations (no matter how far in advance) took that into account. Free tix to Comdex were still too expensive when your room cost $175/night for the cheapest dive in town.

            • I went to Comdex in 1994, 1996, and 1997 - and by the end it was so damn crowded and expensive you couldn't get anything done. Real buyers didn't go to the booths, and the hotels in those days were still jacked way up - so I said "screw it" and haven't been back.

              Comdex was fun for the chance to see colleagues from the industry you wouldn't normally run into. And the parties used to be pretty good, if you can stomach Heineken and generic egg rolls. But it wasn't worth it - so it's no surprise at all to me that it's failing now.

      • They still have the Consumer Electronic Show, that has been comeing close to beating Comdex in the number of attendies, and this year will probably beat it.
      • All the cabbies I talked to in Vegas last time said COMDEX was a dead week for the casinos 'cause techies don't gamble as much as white trash. I don't know if this is true, but cabbies usually have the smut on what's going on in a town.
        • ... COMDEX was a dead week for the casinos 'cause techies don't gamble as much as white trash.

          Makes sense. Techies are relatively good at numbers, so they know (or can easily calculate) that casinoes are nothing more than a money sink (unless you're good enough at card counting to get kicked out).

          We all know that we're more likely to 'score' chasing the waitresses than playing roulette ... and for most of us, our chances with the waitresses aren't that good.

  • by The Original Yama ( 454111 ) <lists.sridhar@dh ... an.com minus bsd> on Thursday November 14, 2002 @09:35PM (#4674295) Homepage
    I've always preferred CeBIT to Comdex anyway. It's more varied in scope.
  • Can somebody explain to me exactly how a trade show, that which can charge exorbiant fees to booth users, can possibly lose money hand over fist?
  • by krazyninja ( 447747 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @09:38PM (#4674321)
    Because according to this other article [newsfactor.com], the tech industry is going to go shoot up the curve of economy, and show
    growth in another 2-3 Q's ("forecasted" like this for the past 2 years :(( )

  • by coupland ( 160334 ) <dchase @ h o tmail.com> on Thursday November 14, 2002 @09:42PM (#4674345) Journal

    This is what happens when you throw free passes around like they're AOL CDs. Did anyone, ever actually pay to get into Comdex? Well, I suppose the techies and developers may have had to pay but pointy-haired bosses like me always got inundated with free passes from companies we'd never dream of buying from. No wonder it was never a great show...

  • Is it a shame? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by xchino ( 591175 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @09:45PM (#4674357)
    I've always wanted to go to Comdex, on company dollar of course, if for no other reason than to meet and hangout with a bunch of my fellow geeks in Las Vegas. It also seems like a pretty eclectic event, and a place where windows afficiandos and Linux elitists can get along (provided no one goes by their slashdot handles). Oh well, I'm sure some other event, pre-existing or otherwise, will slide quietly into the gap created by Comdex's absence.
    • by nomadic ( 141991 ) <nomadicworld@g m a i l . c om> on Thursday November 14, 2002 @10:00PM (#4674438) Homepage
      If I wanted to hang out with a bunch of socially maladjusted, technologically-obsessed cretins I'd stay home and hang out with my friends.
    • I've always wanted to go to Comdex, on company dollar of course, if for no other reason than to meet and hangout with a bunch of my fellow geeks in Las Vegas.

      Um, I'm not sure what Comdex you're talking about, but every Comdex I've seen has been chock full of suits and marketing types that don't know anything remotely technical or geeky about the particular product they are trying to sell.

      Oh, sure, there are geeks there, but they are all walking around scoring free crap from other booths, and generally enjoying a free trip to Vegas. Which is of course, why I go... :)

      For technical comradery, you are much better off at any number of other shows - at least pick a show where there is cooler stuff being shown (like the Consumer Electronics Show) .. Comdex generally tends to be proof of concept devices.
  • by cyberise ( 621539 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @09:45PM (#4674359)
    From the article:
    Shares of Key3Media fell 41 percent, or 1 cent, to 14 cents in Thursday trading on the over-the-counter bulletin board market.

    Now is it just me, or does something about those figures not add up?
    • KMED is at 0.01 according to the stock report available at USA Today. (Why that doesn't make it a 50% drop I don't know.) It's weird to see insider trading sales listed that net $230.00...
    • Re:Key3Media Sta (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It's probably supposed to say "fell 41 percent, or 1 cent, to 1.4 cents". If the stock started at 2.4 cents and dropped 1 cent to 1.4 cents, that's a 41.7% drop. (1/2.4 = 0.4166)
  • by Spencerian ( 465343 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @09:45PM (#4674361) Homepage Journal
    I'm surprised that Windex---er..COMDEX is still around. A trade show generates interest by interesting, if not innovative product.

    Between Microsoft's ability to buy, borrow, steal, or kill ideas or product that they haven't considered or cannot integrate into their operating systems, and a general lack of enthusiasm in the PC industry to think of more ideas that could be stolen, it doesn't surprise me that there's little interest.

    I really can't contrast COMDEX's imminent demise to successful shows such as Macworld Expo because Apple has a captive audience of vendors that support their products. COMDEX doesn't have such luxury.

    COMDEX should rethink its audience. It's pretty obvious that they have just let things ride over the past few years.
  • Then I won't feel like I have to go to one just in case I miss something, and they've been going steadily downhill. '99 was cool, '00 was so-so (got to laugh at some fat Linux geek-wannabee pontificating about the reason that his now-dead distro was good was that Windows sucks), '01 and '02 were both lame and altogetner forgettable.
  • Someone finds something on Google, it is posted on /. After being posted on /. it's pick up by Google!

    Slashdotters say the Google spiders /. I say Slashdotters spider Google.
  • What? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by RomikQ ( 575227 )
    Comdex has so many potential sources for making money!

    - All Las Vegas casinos and hotels make insane amounts from comdex visitors - possible investors

    - Last year's comdex(the only one I've been to) was full to the brim with corporate advertising - they can charge more for the booths, and everyone will still pay, cause the big companies have to be at comdex - that's where you get a lot of clients, investments and etc.

    And really, I don't understand how can they lose money. Comdex is like a gold mine - sure it's expensive to organize and such, but the money they make is almost always much larger then the expenses! Sure, last year's participation was below excpectations(everyone being afraid of terrorists and all), they lost some money there, but surely not enough to push them as far as bankrupcy!
    • Actually the big companies don't feel like they have to be there anymore. I don't think Microsoft went this year, and both IBM and HP scaled down their booth. I think the future are the focused expos, like OpenView Expos, or Microsoft Expos, Linux Expos etc
  • by benmhall ( 9092 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @09:59PM (#4674429) Homepage Journal
    I attended Comdex in Toronto for four of the last five years. Every year I noticed it was getting worse, and wondered if it was worth going to. This last summer I didn't bother going, and I didn't miss it.

    During the time I attended it changed from being a show for people in the industry, to a show for anyone off the street. The first year I went there the small company I was with signed up with TechData and nearly did the same with AOpen. The next year, neither were there. The last year I went was positively lame. No one but the big guys, and not even all of them. Heck, Corel wasn't even there.

    Good riddance. It was a waste of time that was eventually replaced with product info found on the Internet.
  • not to be a troll, but comdex has steadily declined with the economy over the last few years. I went first in 98, and it was pretty rad. then it peaked w/ y2k, and last year was really shitty (Especially the exclusion of Linux Buisness Expo, and only 1 conference center)
  • Stupid conference was a looser anyway. Just a boondogle for exec's to drink together on the company's money and get laid....

  • I am part of a group that is sending some students down to the Las Vegas Comdex coming up. It was cheaper, taking into account hotel, airfare, and comdex free pass, to send students to Las Vegas than Toronto (from Winnipeg).
  • by kevcol ( 3467 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @10:10PM (#4674477) Homepage
    AdultDex [adultdex.com] is able to 'stay up', who cares?
  • by Scutter ( 18425 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @10:12PM (#4674489) Journal
    I went to Comdex in Vegas every year between 1996 and 2000. It went from being a relevant technical showcase to a hangout joint for old ladies when they got bored with the slot machines. It's hard enough to move around the LV Convention Center with 200,000 other technical people, but now you throw in another 50,000 people who don't belong (old ladies and people with STROLLERS for God's sake!, etc), then you add the fact that many of the biggest names don't bother showing up any more, it just isn't worth the time to go.
  • by pgrote ( 68235 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @10:12PM (#4674491) Homepage
    I've been to 9 of the last 10 and will attend next week. Comdex hit a lull before the dot com boom and then the last two years it's been trying to find it's way again.

    This year looked extremely promising with more informative panel discussions and break out sessions.

    Don't forget this also affects the other Comdex shows that happen each year. I've only been to Fall Comdex, so I can't speak to the rest, but it will be a loss to the industry if it fades away.

    Many people have spoken about virtual trade shows, but you don't get to try the products out and meet the folks to help support those products.

    Comdex 2001 Overview [compunotes.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 14, 2002 @10:13PM (#4674492)
    More info is available at Google News."
    I go to Google News [google.com], and here's what I see:
    The Last Comdex? [slashdot.org]
    Slashdot-18 minutes ago
    linuxwrangler writes Key3Media Group Inc. which produces the Comdex trade show
    may be unable to make it's debt payments and could declare bankruptcy. ...
    Key3Media May File for Chapter 11 [nwsource.com]-Seattle Post Intelligencer
    Comdex organizer says it may file for bankruptcy [sfgate.com]-San Francisco Chronicle
    Low-key Comdex to highlight gadgets [infoworld.com]-InfoWorld
  • comdex will go away and something else will take it's place eventually. the more things change the more they stay the same people. Hasn't anyone read the i-ching or any of the great dead philosophers? Damn near sighted people who think things are new are just too stupid to realize it's all part of the same old cycle.
  • I doubt it's Comdex alone that caused key3media to lose their money...
    I went to Networld-Interop in Atlanta this year. It was more fun walking through the food court in the CNN building than the show itself. It too offered free passes if registering through the Net...and it was a huge building for a rather small exhibitor pool...That just reeks of net loss, if you ask me.
  • Does that mean that they won't have any more PornDex either?
  • by ink ( 4325 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @10:34PM (#4674572) Homepage
    Computers used to be fun. There used to be competition. There used to be variety. All we have now are ugly beige boxes running Windows, and the only surprise is how cheap the price can get. All the productivity/business apps are all in the "Microsoft Pavilion". All the system software is there too. All the small business software is there, and a lot of the enterprise software is there as well. Why would anyone want to go to a show that is simply one big, glorified advertisement for Microsoft?

    Linux folks tried to lighten the place up a few years ago by handing out free CDs in front of the Microsoft booth, but Bill had them escorted off the property. Novell's gone from the show. Sun's gone from the show. Apple's gone from the show. IBM has a token appearance. HP only shows off their new laser printers (woo-hooo....). It's dull and boring.

    I remember going back when there were a dozen different computing platforms running a dozen different operating systems. It slowly diminished to the "PowerPC Pavilion" out in the parking lot (bet Bill was happy about that!) against the PC folks in the LVCC+Lower Sands (upper Sands still had some interesting 3rd party stuff). For a couple years after that they had some Linux-specialized groups, but then there was nothing but Windows.

    The internet has also made Comdex obosolete. One used to be able to find new products at Comdex, but now everything on display is Old News. We learn about interesting things here on Slashdot WAY before Comdex ever debuts anything. Since there is no new technology there, and pretty much everything is Windows, which we have to use everyday anyway, the only things left are the swag and Bill's keynote.

    Personally, I think swag is a better reason to go, but it's really not even worth that anymore. I've been attending Usenix instead for the last couple years, and by contrast it is fun, interesting and refreshing. *shrug*

    • I think the days of the all in one computer shows in the USA are coming to an end.

      You will likely see computer shows that are more closely focused with various aspects of the computer industry in the future; we may end up seeing a show dedicated to hardware, Microsoft may end up doing two Windows World expos per year, etc. Already, the success of LinuxWorld Expo has shown a demand for a more focused computer industry exposition.
  • If it were relocated there, I am sure the show could thrive:

    1) Costs would be considerably lower. Salaries accross the board there are less, which would make the operating overhead lower.
    2) Most PC hardware these days are made in China. It may be designed in Taiwan or less often now, Europe and the US but it is manufactured in Asia.
    3) The US's PC industry has become more of a marketing arm. The large US firms spec the machines here and Contract Manufacturers in the far east complete the hard engineering tasks.

    All these factors point to the case for letting the leader in PC manufacturing put on the show.

    Hedley
    • Taiwan definitely does not need another computer trade show. They already have COMPUTEX, probably the most important computer trade show right now because of the huge fraction of computer components coming from Taiwan.
  • that the first "news sight" referenced by google is slashdot?
  • In the time prior to the internet's mass popularity, Comdex provided exposure to new products at a concentrated event. Today you can invest an hour of serious Google research gain more info than all the Comdexs combined.
  • The articles say the organizer is losing money. This may not have much to do with Comdex as it may have to do with the inefficiencies at the company of the organizer of Comdex.

    And furthermore, if Comdex is such a great event, then I am confident that other organizers will swoop in to save Comdex or replace it with a tech fair that is just as potent. (i.e. Supply and Demand - If the deman for comdex is there, someone will supply it)
  • "Comrupt" has a nice ring to it
  • by myov ( 177946 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @11:02PM (#4674685)
    Google googles slashdot, then slashdot slashdots google?

    (try saying that one quickly!)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Is that I won't get a chance to see those strippers handing out flyers for "Cumdex" any more. It was better than Comdex last year, too.
  • by Brett Glass ( 98525 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @11:09PM (#4674709) Homepage
    See my brief COMDEX memoir at

    http://discuss.extremetech.com/extremetech/message s?msg=22210.3 [extremetech.com]

  • Changing Times (Score:3, Interesting)

    by zerus ( 108592 ) on Thursday November 14, 2002 @11:25PM (#4674789) Homepage
    back in the early 90's when the show started, it was just about the only place where people could go and see all the new technology that would be coming out in the next year. I remember when Microsoft's big thing was windows NT 3.5 back at what they called Windows World. They debuted almost all of their products at comdex and gave away so much free crap that I could barely carry it all back on Marta (I always went to the Atlanta one until it moved and came back). Then I remember in 98 I think it was, when Linux stepped into the show full force. There was a whole section for Windows, Linux, and Communications equipment. The show was huge and there was so much money floating around that you could literally take home a server if you sweettalked the convention workers enough. The companies literally threw money at the attendants. I never once paid to go to comdex, I always had free tickets or some sort or another, so the trip on a whole gave me free school supplies for the next few years. But alas, the fall '02 comdex was a disappointment. So few vendors, and none of the ones there even mattered. There were more cell phone companies than there were computer companies. Linux was very sloppily represented, and Microsoft just about backed out entirely. The large corporations aren't floating any money these days and it makes the show really dull. The best exhibit there was some guy getting out of a straight jacket on a unicycle (I kid you not). Other places had dancing girls or massages. The technology they were pushing was sub-par and pretty boring. Advancements just aren't coming as quickly as they did before. Maybe it's because I'm used to knowing about things far in advance of their presentation, or because I'm just not looking. But in today's technological world, one can't expect to have the supershows of the past because the internet truly has made them obsolete. No more cheap pens, buttons, or cdroms, but instead a peppermint or two and maybe a business card if the company is really looking to splurge their advertising budget.
  • It used to be so easy to purchase new equipment. Instead of going through the laborious process of researching the specs and reviews online, I simply went with the vendor with the coolest promo stuff.

    Last year at Comdex netgear gave out t-shirts and a nifty little spoungy dog. Linksys wouldn't even talk to me. Guess what switches are sitting on my desk now!

    So I'll be sad. Aparently actual business took place there, or was supposed to take place there, but for the most part, all I saw was people like me scrounging for free stuff.

    Yes, like pathetic geeks. But then again, the pathetic geeks scrounging for free stuff usually are the ones making the IT decisions.

    *sigh*

  • ... I was hoping that the company brass would pick me to represent us at the show in the coming years. I was looking forward to racking up a few grand on alchohol and fun on the company tabs. And oh, I know that I'm not alone. Drats.
  • It's not just Comdex. I've exhibited at a number of trade shows myself. Was it worth it? No! They're expensive, exhausting to prepare for, and yield few if any solid leads. When you ask exhibitors why they're there, they all say the same thing: "It's just something we're expected to do." But now with the economy on the skids, companies are taking a harder look at where their marketing dollars go, and tradeshows just don't cut it. Once the myth that they're "necessary" is dispelled, I doubt they'll see a resurgence, even with an economic rebound. Besides, with the web, everybody's got a tailor-made tradeshow right on their desk, anytime they want.
  • at the very back of the LVCC behind a plethora of vibrating chair resellers. I kid you not! The year before that Linux had a pavilion. I came home after a single day of over-blown MS hype and Asian reps for power supply and case manufacturers. The only bright spots were some pretty cool remote admin doodads but Linux can do most of that anyway. And a couple of nice switch booths. From now on it's Usenix but I hope they move it to LV.
  • by zapatero ( 68511 )

    COMDEX is obsolete as many here have pointed out already. The better show that many hold out for is CES which is held 7 weeks later and has nearly the same attendence. Computers have already become consumer electronic products. Witness all the MP3 players and digital video equipment, linux based residential gateways and set-top boxes that debut at CES. Comdex is finished.
  • Me, I love trade shows. More specifically, I love the trade shows I love.

    I work out of my house or on client locations most of the year, so trade shows are where I can actually get some networking done. With a focused, industry specific show, a significant portion of my collegues, clients, and potential clients are in one place. Business gets done.

    For folks who only get the free exhibit pass and do the show floor, you're missing about 90% of the action, and the 10% you've got left has been rendered somewhat irrevelant by the internet. Sure, trolling the show floor is nice, and you can occassionally see some surprises, or see a product close up and grok it in a way written descriptions didn't work. But, in a four day trade show, I might spend four hours looking at the exhibits.

    One thing a good trade show will have is good sessions, taught by people who know what they're talking about. In the dot-com era, there were way too many shows where it was the VP's of marketing up on the stage, but the ones that are left focus much more on people with real-world experience telling their stories and, if they're good, answering questions. War stories can teach a LOT, and an expert can often answer a question in 30 seconds that might take a full day on Google to get straight.

    Having a conference pass also helps beyond just doing the conferences. It gets you mingling with the other attendees. There is often free snacks and coffee, and sometimes full meals for attendees as well. Wonderful networking at those. The conference pass also gets you a lot more attention at the booths, because the vendors know that someone with a pass paid money for the show, and immediately consider them a more serious prospect. I've worked both sides of the booth, and the sales managners always stress this point in pre-show prep for those working the booths.

    These days, I only go to shows that I'm either speaking at (I do lots of sessions about video compression), or that I have press creditials for (I'm a contributing editor of DV Magazine). Either pass is nice, since you can get into the speaker or press room, which is GREAT networking, plus they normally have broadband, drinks, and snacks, and not just at designated snack time. Wearing a press badge on the show floor can be almost dangerous if the marketing guys see you (the sales guys typically couldn't care less).

    The big problem with Comdex is that it is so diffuse, it's hard to imagine it having a focused enough audience to have a good chance of bumping into people into the same stuff you are. The computer industry is so broad, it'd be like having a trade show on "transportation." It underlies so many things, it can't be really treated as a unified whole.

    But in general, just going to a show for the exhibit floor is only scratching the surface. Try to get a conference pass, or even try to get a speaking gig if possible. But if you can't swing either, at least try to track down the free vendor classes, and any relevant free Birds of a Feather sessions (generally run in the evening). The one thing the internet can't give us is actually talking to 3D people, so focus on that aspect to get value out of a show.

    And if you do go to conferene sessions, ask questions! And it's perfectly expected and accepted to go up to the speaker after the session for followups.

    Trade shows I love (being a compression nerd) are:

    DVExpo. Lots of classes by practicing video people, very enthusaistic audience. Probably the highest consistant quality of sessions of any show I do.

    QuickTime Live: Geeky when it needs to be, but man does Apple know how to throw a party! Also excellent session quality. And catered by Odwalla!

    NAB: A huge show for video professionals. Amazing exhibits, and enough different conference tracks to keep things interesting for everybody. The geeky stuff used to be done by DVExpo, who alas don't handle that anymore. Still a fun show.

    MacWorld: Verging on diffuse, since people use Macs in so many different ways, but the great Esprit de corps. The Stevenotes really are best experienced in person for maximum RDF impact (and you often get gifts under the seats). I was at the infamous Lou Gestner 3 hour marathon one a few years ago, and man is that a telling contrast!

    WEMP: This is put on by the MPEG-4 Industry Forum. I've only gone once, but it was the best in codec nerd love. Truly excellent sessions - it's one thing to read a standard, it's another thing to hear the person who wrote it tell you why it's a certain way.

  • Exibits are Free (Score:4, Informative)

    by z_gringo ( 452163 ) <z_gringo.hotmail@com> on Friday November 15, 2002 @03:55AM (#4675655)
    The exhibits themselves are always free. You just show up, and register, and you are in.

    They charge the exhibitors, and they also charge for the tutorials, and conferences. You can buy a flex-pass for about $3000 and the tutorials are about $800 for a 1 day class.

    The keynote speeches are all also free, but you have to collect tickets beforehand.

    All of this information is available here. [comdex.com]

  • Sure, lets blame another down turn in the economy on those crazy arab fellas. Why not? Now if anything doesnt go our way, well, its post-911, thats all we have to do to explain it away.

    Sorry, I attended all the Comdex events in Atlanta over the last 10 years. Then they took that away, so we were left with Chicago and Vegas.

    Been to Vegas 3x in the last 10 years. Enjoyed it. Vegas = money. Sure you can eat cheap, but the hotels want to rape you, because comp guys dont gamble as much as normal tourists.

    Its not terrorism dummies, its a small down turn in the tech industry. Hello! the bubble burst before 911.

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