Following Macworld's exclusive news report (see "Apple pulls out of its own expo again"), Apple has now confirmed that it is pulling out of the only UK Mac show.

Apple Expo 2000 - scheduled to take place next spring - will now be without its principal sponsor and attraction. Exhibitor reaction has been swift and furious.

In discussions with Macworld, Apple states that its decision is a "further refinement" of its "global strategy".

UK public-relations manager, David Millar, told Macworld that September's Paris-based Apple Expo will now be Apple's only European event. All other Apple-sponsored shows in Europe have been cancelled.

"Exhibitions are only one part of the marketing mix," said Millar. "We have to make the most effective use of our marketing funds as possible, and that is the backdrop to our decision to pull out of Apple Expo 2000 in the UK."

According to Millar, Apple junked the UK show to "maximize the global impact" of its marketing efforts.

"We are going to NAB [the National Association of Broadcasters show] and Internet World with a vengeance." he told Macworld. NAB2000 takes place in Las Vegas, April 8-13, following on from the April 3-7 Internet World show in Los Angeles. Both are several thousand miles from Apple's UK customers, who have been bitterly disappointed by Apple's fourth rejection in a row. Apple Expo 2000 takes place March 31 through April 1, 2000.

Millar claimed that, since last year, Apple has doubled its marketing budget in the UK, but is spending the majority of it on a series of TV advertisements promoting the iMac and iBook range of consumer computers. Last night, Apple began showing a new ad featuring the new iMac DV and the joys of digital video.

This marketing shift is Apple's main method for "strengthening communications with our customers", according to Millar. "We are still spending." he added, "but spending in different areas".

For now, those two "different areas" that did it in for UK Macintosh users are California and Nevada, where Apple will be building its stands and showing off its translucent wares.

Maybe Apple has only one big white stand, and couldn't transport it from London to LA in time for Internet World. LA to Las Vegas is certainly an easier hike than across the Atlantic, but that's no excuse for Apple letting down its UK customers, who haven't seen Apple at a Mac show since November 1997.

The future of Apple Expo 2000 is now in the hands of show organizer CKS, and those exhibitors who have already booked stands - including: Adobe, Epson, Heidelberg, Hermstedt, Lexmark, Macromedia, MetaCreations, Microsoft, MicroTek and Quark. More news to follow on Macworld Online.