COMDEX Rises from the Ashes of Past Stupidity

COMDEX, once the largest US computer-industry trade show, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, although few people are celebrating. After topping the 200,000-attendee mark a few years ago, COMDEX attendance has fallen to just 50,000 this year (down from more than 120,000 last year). The company that owns the show is just coming out of bankruptcy and faces competition from a similar show that's held in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the same time as COMDEX. But COMDEX isn't down and out quite yet, thank you very much. This year, the show is returning to its business-computing roots, with an attendee list that's neatly culled of all the people who don't belong (only those actually involved with IT received attendee badges; others can pay $100 at the door to get in), and a show floor that no longer features a bevy of nonbusiness-computing companies. These changes mean no more teenagers posing as press and no more massage chair and car companies clogging the show floor. It also means the return of some companies that haven't been at COMDEX for a long time, including Siebel Systems and PC super-giant Dell. Can COMDEX return from the edge of destruction? From what I can tell, the possibility looks good. This year will be my ninth straight year at COMDEX, and although I had previously figured it would be my last, I guess you never know.

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