Exhibitors and organizers have hailed The Expo 2000, held at the Islington Design Centre, London, as a great success.
"I just walked through to thank the organizers," said Garrett Doyle of MacLine.
Doyle’s MacLine achieved £355,000 sales over the two-day event, exceeding the company’s expectations by a whopping £245,000. MacLine has already booked a larger stand at next year’s event. 10,450 visitors came to the show, according to the organizers, who claim the event was a success.
The Expo, 2000 was originally conceived by Appleonline’s executive director Farhad Alaaldin, as a reaction to Apple’s decision last year to cancel it’s official UK show indefinitely. Many exhibitors signed up for the show at the eleventh hour, complaining of a French slant to Apple’s official European event last month.
Future Alaaldin said: "We are investing in the future. It’s a rich, vibrant market, and, at the end of the day, a show like this is a great opportunity to get to know the people.
"The motivation was that the UK needs a show, no one was doing it, and so we went ahead and did one."
Apple did not make an official appearance at the show. Another notable absentee was Adobe, who claimed that it lacked the budget needed to finance another appearance at an exhibition this year. Despite this, Alaaldin said that initial conversations in the aftermath of the successful event show that Adobe is likely to make an appearance at next year’s show.
Bigger He added: "We have really high hopes for next year. A lot of companies failed to make it as they lacked the budget needed to attend this year’s event.
"Regarding Apple, who did not attend this year, we are willing to do anything we can in order to get Apple here. We want to meet with them, talk to them, and see what we can do to resolve the problems they have to get them here."
The next show will be in 14 months, again at the Islington Business Design Centre. The show will run for three days – November 22-24, 2001. Alaaldin said: "I think we have delivered a very good show, and I hope we have gained the confidence of the community – everyone agrees there is a desperate need for a UK show. We have delivered on our promise and put together a proper show.
Problems Organizing the event had its challenges, admitted Alaaldin: "People were extremely cynical as we tried to develop this. They had been burnt before. We gained a lot of momentum in the last few weeks as some of the bigger names came on board. We swam against the tide – they moved from suspicion and doubt into actually being here.
"We want to organize a community, and boost interaction within that community."
Appleonline specializes in offering Internet access to Macintosh users, but with the arrival of free ISP’s, the company has had to expand its business. The company launched AVIstreaming.com at the show. This offers streaming-media services – including hosting, design and digital conversion of digital-video content, with a particular focus on providing QuickTime expertise and hosting.
Happy Exhibitors expressed satisfaction at the event, Trish Hawkins, of UK distributor AM Micro, said: "We are very pleased with the show. It’s good to see a Mac show in London. We’ll be back next year."
Newer Technology’s president, John Nelson, had flown over from Newer’s Witchita headquarters to attend the show. "It’s a nice show," he observed. He added that Newer is "moving forward". He said: "I’m done with the battles of keeping the business going, we are on track now. We have new products in the pipeline, we are delivering our existing products, and we have a more focused product strategy."
Mauro Giani, of Italian firm, Digicom, showed his company’s USB-based GSM modem, which lets PowerBook and iBook owners access the Internet and send email direct form their computers over mobile phones. It’s distributed by AM Micro and cost £100. Giani said: "There’s been an incredible amount of interest in our product at the show. For a relatively small show, there are so many people seriously interested in new products – it compares favourably with Apple Expo, Paris."
Need Bob Denton, of Agenda Marketing, who handled the exhibitors for the event, said: "We have proof positive that there’s a need for a Mac show in the UK. We have nearly all the major players here.
"This is a unique community with very few parallels. Apple is a small company, with one of the most recognized brand identities in the world."
Denton also praised Alaaldin: "I’d like to see him written up for being brave enough to stand up, and, knowing nothing about organizing an event like this, make the Expo happen."
Contented A Macromedia representative, who declined to be named, said: "It’s been a very good show, we’ve been very busy. We have had different types of attendees – lots of professional design people, it has been a very good show for us."
MacLine’s Doyle said: "We exceeded our expectations within three hours of the doors opening. We sold out on all the stock we had put by for the show, and had to restock. We’ll definitely be here next year."
IBM’s Simon Cocheme, there to show ViaVoice, said: "It’s been a very good show today, we have had a lot of feedback and great reactions."
First Gavin Drake, European marketing manager for Quark, said: "I think we’ve had a lot of interest in QuarkWrapture and QuarkDMS. I’ve been very surprized by the number of professional users I’ve spoken to. They seem very anxious to get their hands on these products, and on QuarkXPress 5.0 – which we hope to launch in the middle of 2001. We were among the first companies to sign up for this show. The Apple market is very important to us.
"We’ll need to go away and evaluate what we get from the show. Certainly the first day was very successful for us."
Dipti Rupa, of peripherals manufacturer Swann, was very pleased with the event. She said: "It’s been an excellent show, it’s been busy. We’ve sold hundreds of modems and hubs and talked to so many people."
UK community Neil Wright, head of marketing at Computers Unlimited, said: "It’s been good and it’s been busy, it’s nice to see how much the UK Macintosh community want there to be a Mac show here. Adobe, I feel, should have been here, though I understand that perhaps they had not budgeted for it. We are quite likely to return next year.
"I think it was extremely brave of Farhad to do this. When I first heard of the idea I was not that convinced, because I felt that the whole industry was on a bit of a downer about shows following Apple’s cancellation of two in the last two years.
"Someone had to stand up and make it happen, to prove that the UK needs a show. I believe that Apple US needs convincing. It would be nice to think that this event could take them a small step toward this. The UK has been one of Apple’s largest markets for years."
Apple’s move Wright continued: "We need events. The question has to be, how do we get the message beyond the Apple community without a show to get to them? Will Apple appear at other shows? They say they like to ‘Think Different’, but nothing is changing at all."
Gemma Went, of Hermstedt UK, said: "We are very pleased with the show and are likely to rebook for 2001."
Stephen Farmer, of Data World UK, said: "We were busy from the first day, I describe it as manic. We’ll be here next year."
Attendees were happy, with UK-based Macintosh forums filling up with feedback from UK Apple customers praising the event.