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Comdex Killed for 2004

Scratch Comdex off your "to do" list in November. That is, if it was on there anymore in the first place.

MediaLive International, which last year took over what was once the IT industry's largest and most important show, cancelled Comdex 2004 on Wednesday. The show had been scheduled to start Nov. 14.

The future of Comdex looks dicey. Officially, Comdex 2005 is still scheduled for Nov. 13-17 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. And MediaLive plans to move forward with all scheduled Comdex events in other countries. But in the United States, MediaLive is convening an advisory board from major companies to help refocus the show.

Once the IT industry's most important show, Comdex attracted as many as 200,000 people to Las Vegas in the mid-1990s. Last year, the show claimed just 40,000 attendees and the event failed to lure some of the most important IT companies as exhibitors, such as IBM or Red Hat. Critics have argued that the show lost its IT focus and became too consumer-oriented in recent years. MediaLive took over the flagging show in 2003 from Key3Media, which had filed for bankruptcy.

The new Comdex advisory board includes representatives from Microsoft and Oracle. Both companies regularly sent their chairmen to deliver Comdex keynotes. Bill Gates' speeches were known for the sketch comedy films he regularly opened with. Oracle's Larry Ellison made his speeches equally notable for their anti-Microsoft broadsides. Other companies participating in the advisory board are AMD, Borland, Cisco, Dell, EMC, Intel and Samsung. MediaLive says invitations have been sent to other major IT companies.

"We firmly believe the $915 billion information technology industry needs an event where the leading technology companies can speak to their global customers on neutral ground, buyers can compare all their options at one time, and thought leaders can discuss and debate the industry's future," Eric Faurot, vice president and general manager for Comdex, said in a statement. "The participation on the advisory board of the IT industry's leading companies and thought leaders demonstrates that the industry feels it needs Comdex as well."

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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