Did We Forget To Bathe? (10/18/02)

Hee hee hee, now there's the drama we've been aching for! Apparently sensing that we here at the AtAT compound were just about to keel over from terminal boredom, Apple rushed to our rescue by summarily insulting one major metropolitan area, threatening financial harm to both it and another, and potentially deep-sixing a Mac tradition with eighteen years of history to its credit-- all while instigating a schism in the Mac community and looking really, really bad to the press. It's the occasional bonehead move like this one that really make it worth getting up in the morning around here. Maybe we should send Steve a nice fruit basket.

On the off chance you haven't heard, Macworld Expo's move from New York to Boston in the summer of 2004 is now officially official, since the press conference announcing the deal went ahead yesterday as planned. Well, almost as planned. We're pretty sure that no one at IDG World Expo or Boston City Hall planned for Apple to issue a public statement in which, as faithful viewer Eric Wright pointed out, the company essentially told Boston and the Expo planners to go do rude and anatomically impressive things to themselves: if Macworld Expo moves back to Boston, says Apple, we can all cross them off the guest list. And hey, it's always a good time when a struggling corporation that's ostensibly trying to win new customers and retain existing ones goes ahead and tells a fairly populous burgh (with a heavy mix of that education market it's supposedly trying to win back) that it sucks so bad, the company would rather blow off a major marketing opportunity and all the ensuing massive press attention than deign to set one foot within the city limits of such a rotten little cesspool of a town. Or something like that.

Meanwhile, Apple's terse and cryptic statement (as quoted in a CNET article) also states that "since IDG is no longer investing in New York, we now need to re-evaluate our participation in Macworld New York 2003." Because, you see, the best way to help the great city of New York in its time of need is to scuttle one of its largest trade shows by pulling out and ensuring low attendance by vendors and Mac fans alike. Make no mistake, kiddies; since the Boston deal has been in the works for ages, now, this is clearly not an ultimatum intended to keep the show in New York, or at least if it is, it's an extremely ineffectual one. Most of your useful ultimatums are made before a final deal is inked, not during the "Hey look, it's etched in stone" press conference.

Nope, we're going to have to side with the conspiracy buffs on this one (surprise, surprise). IDG claims that it's kept Apple in the loop throughout the long process of hashing out a move back to Boston-- and we see no reason to doubt that, since to have not done so would be the act of a person whose brain had been replaced by a heaping ladleful of steaming boiled cabbage. IDG says that Apple was perfectly fine with the proposed move, and certainly never gave any indication that it might pull out should the show return to Boston. For what it's worth, Think Secret quotes a bunch of unnamed sources who contend that, yes, Apple had formerly endorsed the move, and its sudden bailout came as a complete surprise to IDG. The feeling there is that this is some ill-conceived hardball negotiating tactic that Apple is springing to get concessions like free lattés for the booth staff. But we're starting to think that Apple's likeliest motive for this hoo-haa is probably even scarier than that: times are tight. Even with $4.3 billion in the bank, is this really a good time to be blowing vast amounts of cash on two huge trade shows each year?

See, the thing is, Apple knows full well that an Apple-less Macworld Expo probably won't happen at all. Vendors would pull out, paid attendance would drop through the floor, and IDG would likely have to cancel the whole gig for financial reasons. (On the plus side, if it were to go ahead without Apple in attendance, there's at least a slim chance we'd qualify for press passes again. Ya think?) However, if you're conspiracy-minded enough, you'll probably agree that Apple doesn't care. To Steve, this whole "we hate Boston" thing might be just a convenient way to reduce Apple's convention budget by a wide margin without the press spitting out headlines like "Beleaguered Apple Too Poor To Party" or whatever. The only reason we can imagine that Apple waited to drop its bombshell until after the Expo was irrevocably committed to a three-year stint in Boston is because the company is engineering the end of the summer Expo altogether. (Insert diabolical laugh and evil incidental music here.) If IDG, Boston, New York, a slew of vendors, and countless Mac fans get steamrolled in the process, well, you can't back out of an omelette without pelting your long-suffering supporters with a few thousand eggs.

Then again, there's also always the possibility that Steve's just pissed because he won't be in Manhattan to dine at HanGawi come 2004.

Of course, deep down we all know the real reason why Apple suddenly doesn't want to come to Boston: Steve just doesn't want to be in the same city as us, your friendly neighborhood AtAT staff. C'mon, Steve, tell the truth; it was the crack about the socks, wasn't it? Sheesh, it's like you always need to treat the mercurial ones with kid gloves. Okay, Steve, here's the deal; come to Boston in 2004 and we'll apologize onstage during the keynote, after which we'll all head over to Buddha's Delight, our treat. We don't care what planet he's from; no one can stay mad after digging into a Number 13 off the specials card.

SceneLink (3783)
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From the writer/creator of AtAT, a Pandemic Dad Joke taken WAYYYYYY too far


The above scene was taken from the 10/18/02 episode:

October 18, 2002: Apple outdoes itself by waiting until the deal is signed and then announcing it won't attend Macworld Expo if the show moves to Boston. Meanwhile, the company gives away free copies of Mac OS X 10.2 to K-12 teachers, and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer talks tough over the "fake switcher" fiasco...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3784: An Apple For Teacher (10/18/02)   In happier (though far less entertaining) news, faithful viewer newwavedave tipped us off to the fact that Apple is seeking to make the lives of this nation's schoolteachers just a little bit brighter...

  • 3785: & No Murder In The Halls! (10/18/02)   It's never nice to kick off a weekend with bad news, but sometimes it's unavoidable: faithful viewer Yoshiki notes an Associated Press article which claims that Steven the Dell Dude is not being canned, as has been widely reported recently-- at least, that's what the dude's agent says...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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