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Macworld Expo: Mixed reactions to Jobs' keynote

by Louise Banbury and Jonny Evans


SAN FRANCISCO (IDG) -- Steve Jobs’ two-hour Expo keynote address was greeted with excitement - and disappointment - by the public and exhibitors alike.

That Apple CEO Jobs’ showmanship had hit the mark with some was clear. One woman, a keynote first-timer, said: "It was everything I expected, and more. It was pretty cool. Mac OS X looks really exciting, and the iMovie demo was great - really emotional, I was choked up."

Arley Morgan Baker, director of corporate communications of EarthLink, was also enthusiastic about the address, especially the announcement that the ISP company will receive a $200 million investment from Apple : "Everybody I’ve spoken to just wants to go straight out and buy a new Mac. Mac OS X was the thing that really made me drool."
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However, he had disappointing news for the U.K. - that the company has "no immediate plans" to go international. He continued: "A lot of the stuff that Apple has created with its Internet strategy are totally in sync with the EarthLink experience."

Many Mac fans - who see the keynote as a quasi-religious experience - were glowing with admiration for Apple and its now-permanent CEO, but there was also much disappointment.

One U.K. dealer said: "It was something of a non-event - two hours of non-substance. It was all mañana, mañana. [products that won’t be shipping until next year]. And, in the meantime, other companies will be working on stuff that will match it, and even surpass it by the time it comes out."

A visitor from New York, who is an experienced keynote attendee, echoed this sentiment: "Unfortunately, it was not what everyone was expecting. There were no hardware announcements, which means that Apple is becoming a software company, which is rather boring. Everybody was expecting innovative hardware - I wanted to see a new PowerBook. However, the Internet strategy is good, Apple wants to do what has done. But two hours listening to Steve talking about was a bit boring. I could have stayed at home and watched the whole thing on the Web."

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FileMaker president Dominique Goupil was more effusive: "We are totally behind Apple’s OS X and Internet strategy. It opens up new possibilities for us."

In a press release, Microsoft's Kevin Browne said: "Microsoft is excited that it will be providing Mac OS X-compatible applications."

However, a spokesman at the VST booth, who refused to be identified, said: "They were muttering excitedly and taking copious notes when Jobs gave the first ever demonstration of OS X. I think they’ll already be planning to take the ideas and create the same things."

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Macworld Expo
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