Boston Too Seedy for Apple?

By Colin C. Haley

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Boston politicians and IDG executives, who this morning hailed the return of the Macworld trade show to Boston in 2004, were left stunned and red-faced when Apple released a terse statement saying it wouldn't participate.

"Apple disagrees with this decision, and will not be participating in Macworld Boston," the company said. "Since IDG is no longer investing in New York, we now need to re-evaluate our participation in Macworld New York 2003. Apple will continue to participate in Macworld San Francisco in January."

Whatever Apple's core objection is, it's not saying. Lynn Fox, a spokeswoman for the Cupertino, Calif., computer maker, declined to elaborate on the statement nor its timing.

Menino, as well as economic leaders, have been lobbying Boston-based IDG for the return of Macworld for weeks, if not months -- so the decision could hardly come as a surprise to Apple.

Two spokeswomen for IDG Expo, the events arm of the IT publisher and researcher, did not immediately return phone calls. Nor did a spokeswoman working for IDG's outside public relations agency. Also, Mayor Tom Menino's office did not respond to an inquiry.

The show, which draws tens of thousands of Mac PC users and generates millions of dollars for local businesses, was held in Boston for 13 years before moving to New York in 1998. The reason for the move was a need for larger convention facilities, which it found in New York's Jacob Javits Center, and more hotel rooms.

With a new convention center slated to open in 2004 on the South Boston waterfront, city officials believe they will have the venue to host large industry event. Now all they have to do is convince Apple.