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Apple says 2009 Macworld Expo will be its last; no Jobs keynote

Apple announced Tuesday that next month is the last time the company will exhibit at Macworld Expo in San Francisco and that chief executive Steve Jobs will not be making a keynote presentation this year.

Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, will deliver the opening keynote for this year’s Macworld Conference & Expo, and it will be Apple’s last keynote at the show.

The keynote address will be held at Moscone West on Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 9:00 a.m. Macworld will be held at San Francisco’s Moscone Center January 5-9, 2009.

"Apple is reaching more people in more ways than ever before, so like many companies, trade shows have become a very minor part of how Apple reaches its customers," the company said. 

"The increasing popularity of Apple’s Retail Stores, which more than 3.5 million people visit every week, and the website enable Apple to directly reach more than a hundred million customers around the world in innovative new ways."

Apple has been steadily scaling back on trade shows in recent years, including NAB, Macworld New York, Macworld Tokyo and Apple Expo in Paris.

The startling news comes after a string of bad news for Macworld host IDG that has seen Adobe and Belkin withdraw from the show while other recognizable companies have opted to scale back their presences at the San Francisco event. Officially, these exhibitors have attributed their withdrawals or reduced presences to economic conditions.

Previously, Apple's exit from these events has effectively signaled their respective death knells.

After IDG announced a return of its East coast Macworld Expo to Boston from New York, Apple promptly canceled its own presence at the relocated event and refused to return even when IDG reversed its decision and moved the event back. The magazine publisher continued on with the New York gathering for 2004 and 2005 but was ultimately forced to shut it down as attendance dwindled and exhibitors rapidly backed out.

Without further elaboration from Apple, the twin decisions of exiting from Macworld and CEO Steve Jobs' absence from the stage is having a destructive effect on the Mac maker's shares as well: as of this writing, the company's stock is down more than 4.5 percent in after-hours trading.