Apple to be banned from Macworld Expo SF?

The battle over the East Coast Macworld Conference & Expo moved West on Saturday when IDG World Expo President & CEO Charlie Greco said the organization might not allow Apple to exhibit at the upcoming January Expo. This comes after Apple said in a statement to MacCentral on Thursday that they would "continue to participate in Macworld San Francisco in January."

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"I don't think it's fair that Apple discriminates against its users on the East Coast by cherry picking what Macworld event they plan to attend," Greco told MacCentral in an interview tonight. "We're considering telling them not to attend the San Francisco show if they believe one coast has more value than another; they have certainly determined that one city has more value than another."

Greco said that no discussions have taken place between the two companies since events surrounding the move of Macworld Expo to Boston took place late in the week. The two sides are scheduled to get together on a conference call Monday morning to see if there is a way to work out the differences.

Greco also confirmed that Mayor Thomas M. Menino and U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) have both offered to fly to Apple's Cupertino, California headquarters to see if they could help in the negotiations.

Apple isn't the first company to reconsider their investment in an East Coast tradeshow. Adobe has not attended Macworld Expo New York for the past two years, while maintaining their commitment to the San Francisco show. Macromedia also did not attend Macworld Expo in New York this year -- both companies cited a refocusing of resources to better serve their customers as reasons for their absence.

In a meeting with Apple CEO Steve Jobs three months ago, Jobs said he didn't know if the company could continue doing two U.S. tradeshows, according to Greco. Greco thinks that Apple used the move to Boston as an excuse for the company to eliminate one U.S. show a year.

Last Thursday IDG World Expo held a press conference in Boston to announce the return of Macworld Conference & Expo to the city where it spent 13 years.

Apple released a statement saying, "Apple disagrees with this decision, and will not be participating in Macworld Boston. Since IDG is no longer investing in New York, we now need to re-evaluate our participation in Macworld New York 2003."

On Friday, IDG World Expo said the East Coast shows in New York and Boston would go on as planned, with or without Apple. "We would love to have Apple participate in those events as they have for 18 straight years, but if for reasons unknown to us they decide not to come, we will go with 250 exhibitors instead of 251 exhibitors," said Greco.

Apple was not available to comment on this story.

IDG World Expo and MacCentral are both owned by IDG.

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