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Adobe, Belkin back out of Macworld

Elgato and FastMac are taking advantage of the late pullout

Adobe, Belkin and other companies announced last week that they were backing out of their booth commitments at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco next month. In addition, Belkin is not exhibiting at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas later in January. This late in the process, it is unlikely that either company will get their money back from show organizers.

A Belkin spokesperson said in a published report that the company “learned that a smaller group of our channel partners will be attending” and that “private meetings in hotel suites are more conducive” to the types of discussion that Belkin expects to have at both Macworld and CES — a clever and cheaper way to get its message out than a huge, expensive trade show booth.

IDG World Expo isn’t too concerned, or so it claims. A spokesperson issued me this statement:

While Adobe has decided to shift its focus at for Macworld this year, the company will still be actively participating in the event — several members of the company’s product team will be involved in Macworld tracks, including a full day of CS4 demo sessions with Adobe evangelists on Wednesday, January 7.

Every year we see a certain percentage of exhibitors pull out of the event for their own business reasons. In this economic climate, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see this. The important thing to understand is that Macworld Conference & Expo 2009 will be similar in size to last year’s event and attendees will continue to visit nearly 500 great Mac product vendors on our exhibit floors.

In addition, hotel registrations in San Francisco are strong, and although we can’t divulge official attendee numbers until the event audit is complete, Macworld is tracking on pace with the number of pre-registered attendees the event had at this time last year.

I’m a bit skeptical by the fairly upbeat tone taken in the statement. It’s never a good thing to have huge exhibitors pulling out at the last minute. However, given the huge hype around anything Apple these days, the pullouts are more indicative of the poor economy than anything to do with Macworld Expo or Apple — especially since we are seeing similar pullouts from CES.

It is good news for some smaller companies, though. AppleInsider notes that Elgato and FastMac are taking advantage of the late pullout, moving their booths closer to the central Apple booth or upgrading their space — probably at a significant discount.

(Full disclosure: The Industry Standard is owned by IDG. IDG World Expo, the company behind Macworld, is a division of IDG. Other than issuing a statement, IDG had no input on the content of this article.)