Welcome!

Industrial IoT Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Radu Gheorghe, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Open Source Cloud, Mobile IoT, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog

Open Source Cloud: Article

Comdex: The Show that Ate Las Vegas Dies of Anorexia

Comdex: The Show that Ate Las Vegas Dies of Anorexia

  • Comdex Bites the Vegas Dust

    There won't be a Comdex this year.

    (Long pause for general chortling and rejoicing as shoemakers everywhere weep.)

    Industry ennui killed it.

    The current owners of the biggest money-spinner besides Microsoft ever spawned by the Computer Revolution claim they're "postponing" the thing to "reshape" it, which - according to the old VP of PR for the grand old Comdex, David Kaminer - is polite show talk for the show is over. "If you don't floor it," he said, "you 'postpone' it."

    The Las Vegas Conventional Center and environs are still expecting Comdex to pay for the space it reserved for November.

    It's hard to conceive of how much money changed hands and how much technology came to market and how many people made a living because Comdex existed.

    And Comdex existed because of the pre-PC foresight of a small-time show manager named Shelly Adelson, who in March of 1979 was inspired to create it by a start-up publication called Computer Systems News that was brought into existence for CMP Publications by a young, unseasoned, second-generation reporter named Maureen O'Gara.

    Starting in a small back ballroom of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas that fall thanks to the support rendered by DEC's OEM unit run by Jake Jacobs, Comdex became, as the Wall Street Journal once called it, the "High Holy Days of High Tech," distinguished by the "miles of aisles" that inexorably enveloped the whole desert town until it took up a million square feet.

    It was, someone once calculated, "the largest non-religious gathering in America," the industry's great annual homecoming - and the people who came, armed with pens and a clinching handshake, were the decision makers.

    In its heyday, airlines flew because of it, convention centers were built because of it, hotels overflowed because of it and Las Vegas, originally a really cheap place to play, jacked its prices through the roof because of it.

    One year, conference director Peter Young lined up a guest speaker by the name of Bill Gates - a kid Shelly - who only learned of the booking later - dismissed as "that high school student" until Gates' picture suddenly started appearing on the covers of business magazines because his company just went public.

    Shelly always was lucky - that is if one considers luck the "residue of design and desire" like Branch Rickey, the "Mahatma" of baseball, did.

    Shelly sold Comdex at its peak to the Japanese-wannabe-big-time Softbank for $860 million. In April, 1995 that kind of sum was still real money. Shelly went on to buy the Sands Hotel, level it and build the Venetian among other hotels.

    Softbank, in turn, had its ups and downs, but Comdex still thrived - ultimately attracting 212,000 visitors and 2,500 exhibitors - until Softbank, which had also bought Ziff-Davis, found it necessary to focus on a core business and turned over Comdex to a Ziff-Davis spinout called the Key3Media Group, which had absolutely no knack for show business and turned the Golden Goose into a crude country pâté.

    The show lost its messianic appeal and its true audience, chipped away to a mere brand by bad management, the Internet, industry consolidation, changes in the distribution channel, rivals and Arab terrorism.

    By 2002, Key3Media was in hock up to its eyeballs and facing bankruptcy, its stock was worthless and had been drummed off the Big Board, half it board had quit and it was only able to meet its bank loans because of a windfall insurance settlement stemming from 9-11.

    Key3Media emerged from bankruptcy a year ago as MediaLive International Inc, which has been trying to keep Comdex alive as a B2B event. The last Comdex drew only 40,000 people and 550 exhibitors.

    MediaLive said Wednesday on the news of the show's cancellation that it's established a Comdex Advisory Board and has pressed some industry lights into putting their thinking caps on trying to dream up ways to salvage the show.

    It claimed that it could "still run a profitable Comdex this year," but "it does not benefit the industry to do so without broader support of the leading technology companies."

    MediaLive said it had commitments to join the advisory board from John Volkmann, VP, strategic communications, AMD; George Paolini, VP, general manager of developer tools, Borland Software; Mark Fredrickson, VP, corporate communications, EMC; Timothy Curran, CEO, Global Technology Distribution Council; Jeff Singsaas, director of events, Microsoft; Robert Shimp, VP, technology marketing, Oracle; and Peter Weedfald, senior VP, strategic marketing and new media, Samsung Electronics.

    Executives from Cisco, Dell and Intel have also agreed to join the board and invitations have been extended to other companies, MediaLive said.

    The next Comdex in Las Vegas, which they're thinking of turning into a user conclave, is scheduled for November 13-17, 2005.

  • More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

    Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

    Comments (1) View Comments

    Share your thoughts on this story.

    Add your comment
    You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

    In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


    Most Recent Comments
    Ivan Cruz 06/25/04 03:50:37 PM EDT

    > turned over Comdex to a Ziff-Davis spinout called the
    > Key3Media Group, which had absolutely no knack for show
    > business and turned the Golden Goose into a crude country
    > pâté.

    Nope. Comdex and many other bussiness (specialy tech publications) is just another victim of Internet. Why expend four figures to have news, trends and information I can have faster and fresher right from my desk?

    @ThingsExpo Stories
    In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
    SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From ...
    TechTarget storage websites are the best online information resource for news, tips and expert advice for the storage, backup and disaster recovery markets. By creating abundant, high-quality editorial content across more than 140 highly targeted technology-specific websites, TechTarget attracts and nurtures communities of technology buyers researching their companies' information technology needs. By understanding these buyers' content consumption behaviors, TechTarget creates the purchase inte...
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud computing technologies. Ge...
    The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry’s single source for the cloud. Fusion’s advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including cloud...
    Your homes and cars can be automated and self-serviced. Why can't your storage? From simply asking questions to analyze and troubleshoot your infrastructure, to provisioning storage with snapshots, recovery and replication, your wildest sci-fi dream has come true. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, will provide a ChatOps demo where you can talk to your storage and manage it from anywhere, through Slack and similar services ...
    20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
    Have you ever noticed how some IT people seem to lead successful, rewarding, and satisfying lives and careers, while others struggle? IT author and speaker Don Crawley uncovered the five principles that successful IT people use to build satisfying lives and careers and he shares them in this fast-paced, thought-provoking webinar. You'll learn the importance of striking a balance with technical skills and people skills, challenge your pre-existing ideas about IT customer service, and gain new in...
    With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
    @ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential Internet of Things Brand by Onalytica in the ‘The Internet of Things Landscape 2015: Top 100 Individuals and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed Twitter conversations around the #IoT debate to uncover the most influential brands and individuals driving the conversation. Onalytica captured data from 56,224 users. The PageRank based methodology they use to extract influencers on a particular topic (tweets mentioning #InternetofThings or #IoT in this ca...
    With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
    Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
    Almost two-thirds of companies either have or soon will have IoT as the backbone of their business. Though, IoT is far more complex than most firms expected with a majority of IoT projects having failed. How can you not get trapped in the pitfalls? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, Chief IoTologist at Wipro, will introduce a holistic method of IoTification, which is the process of IoTifying the existing technology portfolios and business models to adopt and leverage IoT. He will delve in...
    In the enterprise today, connected IoT devices are everywhere – both inside and outside corporate environments. The need to identify, manage, control and secure a quickly growing web of connections and outside devices is making the already challenging task of security even more important, and onerous. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Rich Boyer, CISO and Chief Architect for Security at NTT i3, will discuss new ways of thinking and the approaches needed to address the emerging challenges of securit...
    As cloud adoption continues to transform business, today's global enterprises are challenged with managing a growing amount of information living outside of the data center. The rapid adoption of IoT and increasingly mobile workforce are exacerbating the problem. Ensuring secure data sharing and efficient backup poses capacity and bandwidth considerations as well as policy and regulatory compliance issues.
    The emerging Internet of Everything creates tremendous new opportunities for customer engagement and business model innovation. However, enterprises must overcome a number of critical challenges to bring these new solutions to market. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Martin, CTO/CIO at nfrastructure, outlined these key challenges and recommended approaches for overcoming them to achieve speed and agility in the design, development and implementation of Internet of Everything solutions with...
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Outlyer, a monitoring service for DevOps and operations teams, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Outlyer is a monitoring service for DevOps and Operations teams running Cloud, SaaS, Microservices and IoT deployments. Designed for today's dynamic environments that need beyond cloud-scale monitoring, we make monitoring effortless so you...
    It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his Day 2 Keynote at @ThingsExpo, Henrik Kenani Dahlgren, Portfolio Marketing Manager at Ericsson, discussed how to plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change the...
    What are the new priorities for the connected business? First: businesses need to think differently about the types of connections they will need to make – these span well beyond the traditional app to app into more modern forms of integration including SaaS integrations, mobile integrations, APIs, device integration and Big Data integration. It’s important these are unified together vs. doing them all piecemeal. Second, these types of connections need to be simple to design, adapt and configure...