Jobs' MacWorld Skip May Be Overblown

While the Apple CEO's not delivering the keynote raised some eyebrows, the business no longer requires the forum.
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Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

CEO Steve Jobs is always big news. His company announces that he won't be giving the keynote address at the MacWorld Conference and Expo 2009 in San Francisco next month. Everyone is hoping that this move is solely a business decision and the end of an era.

It's well documented that Apple's guiding guru has battled cancer in the past. He says he's fought it and won.

At his last product fest

, in October, he made jokes about his blood pressure (normal). But he also allowed other Apple execs to deliver major portions of the demonstration. Jobs looked thin and gaunt. As you might expect, the rumor mill on the Web went into overdrive. Apple stock took a big hit at the time.

But there is a lot more to the story. The annual MacWorld trade show is not owned or operated by Apple. Instead, it's a big moneymaker for

MacWorld

magazine's owner International Data Group (IDG), which also publishes

MacUser

,

PC World

,

Computerworld

,

InfoWorld

,

JavaWorld

,

LinuxWorld

,

NetworkWorld

and other titles. Aside from the fact that that expo serves to glorify Apple products, the profits go to IDG -- not Apple.

For a quarter century or so, Apple has made a substantial effort to prepare for and deliver Jobs' keynote speech. It's not only the physical act of making the speech, but also the R&D deadlines that had to be met to assure conference attendees that something new and wonderful was about to be announced.

MacWorld Expo also made provided Apple with an announcement platform that was separate from, and equal to, what was going on in Las Vegas each January. And, as added incentive, the Consumer Electronics Show's keynoter speaker was always Bill Gates from rival

Microsoft

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.

Apple no longer needs the MacWorld Expo as a platform to announce new products. Why should Apple wait until January -- after the Christmas/holiday shopping rush -- to announce exciting new items? It doesn't make sense. Especially because, computer companies market different types of items these days. It makes sense to have announcements match development cycles.

For instance, iPhones are currently on a June-to-June release cycle. Why not tell the world about your items when they're ready -- especially if that coincides with graduation/summer, back-to-school or pre-holiday seasons.

Apple, as a company, is a whole lot more than Mac hardware and software in 2009. In these tough economic times, it makes a lot of sense for it to conserve resources for its own purposes.

Apple has announced that its senior vice president for product marketing, Phil Schiller,

will deliver the company's final keynote address

at the MacWorld Conference on Jan. 6. Paul Kent, vice president/general manager of IDG World Expo, said his company

will soldier on

: "We are committed to serve their

Mac users' interests at the Moscone Center, January 4-8 2010."

Gary Krakow is TheStreet.com's senior technology correspondent.