December 17, 2008

Jobs Won’t Deliver Keynote Address At Macworld

It was announced on Tuesday that Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs won't be delivering the highly anticipated presentation that usually marks the highlight of the annual Macworld computer trade show in January.

This 2009 date will also be the last year Apple exhibits at the Macworld Expo. The IDG technology media group organizes the expo, a multi-day gathering of fans and makers of software and accessories for Macs, iPods, iPhones and other Apple products.

Jobs' usually launched Apple's most coveted gadgets during the Macworld keynote address. Jobs is known for saving his biggest Macworld announcement for last, then prefacing the big revelation by telling his audience he has "one more thing."

Last year it was the ultra-thin MacBook Air laptop; in 2007, Jobs gave Macworld attendees the first glimpse of the iPhone.

Instead, Apple announced that Philip Schiller, a marketing executive, would deliver the keynote this year.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said the switch indicates "a shift in power going on at Apple. Munster said Schiller is one of two contenders to succeed Jobs at the company's helm; the other is Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook.

Now that Apple has other methods for displaying upcoming products, including its growing chain of retail stores, the company said it would no longer participate in Macworld. Munster said it makes sense for Apple to back out because it can generate just as much buzz by hosting its own product launch events.

However, he called that part of Apple's announcement insignificant compared with the news that Jobs will not be delivering the keynote.

"This is his baby. This is his presentation. It's his flock," the analyst said.

Munster speculated that Jobs' absence could mean that Apple doesn't have a big product to unveil this year, and that Jobs refused to give a newsless talk.

Or it could mean Jobs, who recovered in 2004 from a rare but treatable form of pancreatic cancer, is having health problems, he said.

"I think that Apple could have done a lot to have made it so people wouldn't speculate about Steve Jobs' health," he said.

This fall, Jobs has appeared very thin but energetic at Apple events. Apple spokesman Steve Dowling would not comment on questions about Jobs' health.

IDG World Expo, the IDG division that runs Macworld, released a statement saying it is disappointed Apple will not participate in the 2010 show.

Following the news of Jobs' absence, shares of Apple Stock dropped $2.55, about 2.7 percent, to $92.88 in after-hours trading, after gaining 68 cents to end the regular session at $95.43.


Image Caption: Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs delivers the keynote address at the Apple Worldwide Development Conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco on June 9, 2008. He unveiled the new iPhone. (UPI Photo/Terry Schmitt)


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