Bi-annual show Comdex received a major setback last week when IBM and. Dominique Deckmyn reports. its subsidiary Lotus confirmed they would not exhibit at either event next year.
IBM and Lotus were present at the November show, but other major industry players such as Apple, Oracle, Netscape, Compaq, Sun and Dell did not exhibit.
Martin Harvey, communications manager for IBM Global Industries in Paris, said: 'We are trying to become a solutions company, not just a hardware or software vendor. We have been looking at all our marketing activities to try to find the best ways to communicate that. Frankly, we have decided that Comdex is probably not the best route.'
Harvey stressed this was not a decision to cut back on all trade shows and said IBM had no plans to withdraw from Cebit.
'Some trade shows are very relevant and many are fundamental to our business. But Comdex is primarily a product show,' he said.
Suzanne Lonergan, director of corporate communications for ZD Comdex, responded to this criticism: 'I would agree that Comdex Fall is more product-oriented than our other shows. But Comdex Spring, for instance, is oriented towards solutions in the intranet space.' Comdex is all things to all people, and that is its attraction. It is the industry meeting place.'
Lonergan said major companies could participate in Comdex even if they did not rent floor space.
She highlighted Compaq as an example. The vendor did not take a stand at the November show but, she said: 'Compaq was very much a participant.
Eckhard Pfeiffer, Compaq CEO, gave a keynote address and the company was involved in our intranet programme.'
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