“We were one of the first shows
to verify our attendance,”
says Consumer Electronics Show
honcho Gary Shapiro.
“When Comdex came after us,
our strategy was to be honest...”
On June 23, 2004, word came that Comdex was
dead at last. While many were shocked by the demise of the great
computer trade event that in its heyday drew more than 200,000
attendees annually to Las Vegas, some industry watchers had
foreseen the end of Comdex and every sprawling computer show like
it for years. They understood Comdex and its cousins were too big
and dissonant, too costly for participants and too slow to adapt in
the new millennium’s dynamic but downsized IT marketplace.
“Comdex was overwhelming to the senses. It was a free-for-all,”
says Karen Zunkowski, event manager for corporate events with
Waltham, Mass.-based Novell and former president of the Computer
Event Marketing Association, based in Coal Center, Pa. “It was
extremely competitive for the attendee’s attention. Eventually,
with costs escalating, exhibitors lost faith in the Comdex
Indeed, Comdex was simply the biggest domino to fall in a
recent string of old-line IT show cancellations like those of
Business 4Site, CeBIT America, Comnet and Content World, to name a
few. According to the Chicago-based Center for Exhibition Industry
Research, trade shows for the IT sector suffered an overall 22
percent decline between 2000 and 2003, with steep drops in
exhibitors, attendees, revenue and square footage.
In the aftermath of these computer show crashes,
M&C sought to survey the new circuit of tech events
and look at alternatives on the rise.