Comdex 2004 Canceled

Media Live, Comdex's current owner, announced that the show will return in 2005 and an advisory board of vendors has been formed to help guide it.

June 23, 2004

2 Min Read
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After 25 years, Comdex--which had become the world's largest trade show before being sold by its founder and falling on hard times--has been canceled for 2004.

Media Live, Comdex's current owner, announced Wednesday that the show will return in 2005 and an advisory board of vendors has been formed to help guide it.

"In the year since we assumed the responsibility of managing the technology industry's largest annual event, we have sought to reposition Comdex and rebuild the market's trust," said Robert Priest-Heck, president and CEO of MediaLive. "While we could still run a profitable Comdex this year, it does not benefit the industry to do so without broader support of the leading technology companies. In order to give the advisory board the time and opportunity necessary to partake in the redesign of Comdex, we thought it best to postpone this year's show."

Comdex was launched in 1979 by Sheldon Adelson, who at the time was the owner of Needham, Mass.-based Interface Group. Adelson came up with the idea for the show after reading an issue of Computer Systems News, a former CMP Media publication that ultimately spawned CRN. The event's acronym originally stood for Computer Dealer Exposition, and the show was launched as an event for the indirect channel.

Adelson grew Comdex into a worldwide franchise with multiple venues before selling it in the mid-1990s to Softbank, which at the time also owned Ziff-Davis Publishing, for $867 million. At the time of the sale, Comdex attracted more than 200,000 visitors, resulting in legendary tales of two-hour taxi lines and a show floor so crowded that it was difficult to maneuver.After Softbank, Comdex had a string of owners, and the show has continued to shrink each year. The industry downturn of the past several years caused many former exhibitors to rethink their trade show spending, and many have instead focused on smaller, more highly targeted events.

Still, at its height, Comdex created an energy and buzz that made it the place where IT vendors unveiled new products and announced their strategic directions.

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