Though it hasn’t officially supported a UK show in three years, Apple is actively considering attending a Mac show in the UK this year, “following four years of abandoning Britain in favor of either US announcements or European exhibitions,” according to a Macworld UK article.
“Macworld can exclusively reveal that Bob Denton of MacExpo Events Ltd. has had discussions with Apple US and European personnel, as well as meetings with new Apple UK managing director Mark Rogers,” according to the report. “Apple began discussing its presence at a UK Mac show during January’s Macworld Expo in San Francisco. At that time, Apple suggested alternative dates and venues that might fit their UK objectives more closely.”
Why the long absence of Apple at a UK show? It’s a long, sad story. Apple pulled out of EMAP’s Apple Expo 98, apparently unhappy with the event’s cross-platform focus. Apple then created its own team for Apple Expo 99 (originally slated to run November 25-27, 1999 at London’s Olympia). The company then postponed this in favor of Apple Expo 2000, which was slated to run March 30, through April 1, 2000.
Apple Expo 2000 was conceived by Apple and show organizer CKS as a “bigger and better” replacement for the shelved Apple Expo 99. In fact, for the first time in the UK, Apple Expo 2000 was designated by Apple as one of the five major Apple global events. The expo was touted as the “biggest, most inspirational Apple-only event ever to be staged in the UK.”
A move to Wembley was meant to provide a giant arena for a keynote address by Steve Jobs. Wembley’s conference hall could seat 2,600 UK Mac fans that had never seen the legendary CEO speak before. However, just days before the deadline and with 70 percent of the floor space booked, Apple canned the show and put all its resources behind a “European” Apple Expo to be held in September in Paris.
Apple told Macworld UK that the withdrawal was a “further refinement” of its “global strategy.” UK public-relations manager, David Millar, said that September’s Paris-based Apple Expo would now be Apple’s only European event.
“Exhibitions are only one part of the marketing mix,” said Millar. “We have to make the most effective use of our marketing funds as possible, and that is the backdrop to our decision to pull out of Apple Expo 2000 in the UK.”
According to Millar, Apple junked the UK show to “maximize the global impact” of its marketing efforts. Evidently, the UK show was abandoned in favor of NAB (the National Association of Broadcasters show, Las Vegas) and Internet World.
Following the announcement that Apple was to pull out of the Expo, exhibitors, resellers and Apple users were infuriated. A series of meetings were held between Apple and Web/CKS in an attempt to salvage something from the fiasco — however, nothing was. And UK attendees of the Paris show complained that it was “French-centric” with little English-language content.
In response, UK exhibitors got together to produce their own show, called The Expo 2000, which took place at London’s Business Design Center at the end of September 2000. Although exhibitor numbers were limited, major players — such as Microsoft, Macromedia, Quark and Hewlett-Packard — did attend the event, as did 10,450 visitors.
This year’s event — to be called “MacExpo” — will again be run at Islington’s Business Design Center (termed “Designer Central” by the organizers) from Nov. 22-24.