Neil Wright, marketing manager at Umax- and Newer Technology- distributor IMC, believes that Apple's decision to pull out of Apple Expo 2000 is down to money - or rather the UK's lack of it.

"Apple must have put together a budget to pay for the UK show," Wright told Macworld. "Even if Steve Jobs decided HE wasn't going to turn up, why would he decide to take the whole of Apple out of the show? The only possible explanation - considering the obvious damage this is doing to Apple's customer and partner goodwill - is that Apple UK does not have the cash. Maybe the UK hasn't hit its sales targets, and so has had budgets cut that were destined for UK promotion."

What's the easiest big chunk you can get rid of in a marketing budget?" asks Wright. "That's right, a show!"

Wright, a marketer for Umax Computer during the era of Mac clones, blasts Apple's decision to ignore the UK Mac community: "Apple has decided instead to use the cash to spend on expensive ego-massaging TV adverts promoting the iBook, that will sell in much smaller numbers than iMacs and G4 desktops."

"Apple US makes the decisions, and Apple UK is powerless," adds Wright. "This leads me to ask 'Why is Apple UK there?'. If it has no power over how it markets itself in its own country, why does it have a marketing department?"

"At the end of the day, Apple UK is obviously toothless."

Wright is not optimistic about Apple UK's future: "Whatever goodwill it's managed to create among exhibiting partners in the past, will disappear very quickly. Would you bet your business on a company so fickle and without loyalty?"