The scrapping of Apple Expo 2000 – revealed exclusively yesterday by Macworld Online (see "UK Apple Expo 2000 finally cancelled") – has sparked a backlash from the Mac industry.

The Expo debacle has left leading UK Mac industry figures fuming.

The plug was finally pulled on Expo after Apple – which had already snubbed the event - withdrew the rights to use the Apple Expo name from organizers US Web/CKS.

Expo organizer, Bob Denton told Macworld yesterday that he had sent "a detailed account of payments received to the German HQ of US Web/CKS". He says, though, that all exhibitors will get their money back. A formal announcement is expected within the "next few days".

Graham Salmons, marketing director of Lexmark told Macworld: "It’s a joke. Many vendors had put a lot of investment into this and we are desperately disappointed that Apple doesn’t think third-party vendors are worth considering."

He added: "We had a slick, sexy expo lined up. Apple needs the courage of its convictions and meet end-users face-to-face."

Epson’s Mary McNulty of Epson told us she felt the situation was, "very sad", adding: "The main thing now is whether we get our money back. We have asked the organizers about this, but they haven’t yet responded. If we don’t get our money back, then we’ll see them in court."

Andrew Haji-Hannas, marketing manager at QMS spoke of his shattered optimism: "I’m in shock. I thought they’d never actually do it and that Apple would change its mind at the last minute – I thought it was just a publicity stunt.

"Apple has absolutely no regard for its customers or its partners. A show this year would have been a great chance to show off the new products coming to the market. It sends all the wrong signals to the Mac community and to end-users."

Andy Eakins of Hermstedt commented wryly that Steve Jobs "is proving he’s worth every cent of his reputed one dollar salary".

Bob Denton feels that the decision bodes ill for Apple’s future. He said: "Most exhibitors are used to this kind of caprice from Apple. That people aren’t feeling more anger at the decision shows the resigned feeling of the UK Apple community. This bodes ill for Apple’s future."

UK and US Apple – and US Web/CKS – declined to comment. For more Expo coverage keep reading Macworld Online for comment as it happens.

Visit our special Expo site for more stories on the demise of the UK's only Apple show.

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