San Francisco — Trade show organizer MediaLive International has announced it has cancelled Comdex Las Vegas 2004.
The show, once one of the largest trade events in the world, was scheduled to be held November 14 – 17. MediaLive called the cancellation a "postponement" and said that the event would be reorganized and relaunched in November 2005. In 2003, the show attracted about 40,000 attendees and 550 exhibitors, according to MediaLive.
This is a far cry from what took place during Comdex’s heyday in the mid-1990s. Then, 200,000 people would swarm into Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Convention Center would dedicate all its 1.2 million square feet of floor space to the show. Cash rich companies IBM and Microsoft attempted to outdo each other by hosting lavish parties for thousands of guests that would include big name entertainment. At its height, the show would almost overrun Las Vegas with tech heads and vendors along with retail and corporate buyers, making it almost impossible to get a dinner reservation and making hour-long cab line waits the norm.
The show was considered so important that industry giants like Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Scott McNally, Sun Microsystem’s CEO, were perennial Comdex keynote speakers, and it was the place for all the major IT product launches.
The show, which was launched 1979, started to show some wear and tear with the bursting of the tech bubble. However, the September 11 terror attacks two months prior to the 2001 show put the event into a downward spiral from which it could not recover. With attendees afraid to travel, the show drew barely 30,000 people, and vast portions of the Las Vegas Convention Center were almost empty.
Key3Media added to Comdex’s woes when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2002, and the show was faced with competition from a competing show organized by JupiterMedia called Computer Digital Expo that was held last year at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. Key3Media sold the show to MediaLive last year.
The COMDEX staff said it would contact all confirmed sponsors, partners, exhibitors, speakers, vendors and attendees individually to inform them of the postponement. All other scheduled MediaLive produced events, seminars and programs will be convening as planned, including COMDEX Brazil, COMDEX Korea, COMDEX Scandinavia, COMDEX Saudi Arabia and COMDEX Greece.