updated 12:05 pm EST, Wed December 17, 2008
Analysts on MW10 pullout
Investors have no reason to panic over Apple's decision to substitute Phil Schiller for Steve Jobs at Macworld 2009, and abandon the expo entirely in 2010, say analysts with Needham & Co. and Kaufman Bros.. The former notes that the substitution is bound to raise questions over Jobs' health, given a gaunt appearance in recent months, and largely discredited rumors of cancer recurrence. Needham claims, however, that its sources suggest Jobs is cancer-free, and that the real reasons for its Macworld policies are strictly business-related.
Both Needham and Kaufman point out that Apple feels Macworld is no longer worth its time or investment, particularly in light of the increasing number of events it sponsors on its own -- such as WWDC -- and its diminished dependence on tradeshows as a whole. First-party events give Apple complete control over how and when its products are marketed, and it is thought that the company believes Jobs' presence might be better used elsewhere. The grip of recession may also be leading the company to pull back to its most effective marketing techniques, Kaufman's Shaw Wu writes.
A more immediate concern is said to be whether Schiller's lead at MW09 indicates a lack of any major product announcements. Wu counters this by mention of sources who say Apple is cracking down on leaks, which may give the illusion that the company has nothing special planned; in reality it is working on "many exciting new products," according to Wu, though the analyst admits that low-key Macworld announcements are a possibility.