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Apple Chief to Skip Expo He Usually Headlines
source: Washington Post

CUPERTINO, Calif., Dec. 16 -- Apple said Tuesday that chief executive Steve Jobs won't deliver the highly anticipated presentation that usually marks the highlight of the annual Macworld computer trade show in January.

Apple also said that 2009 will be its last year exhibiting at the expo, a multi-day gathering of fans and makers of software and accessories for Macs, iPods, iPhones and other Apple products. The expo is organized by the IDG technology media group.

Jobs's annual Macworld keynote had become one of the consumer electronics industry's most-awaited moments because he used the stage to introduce Apple's most coveted gadgets. He is known for saving his biggest Macworld announcement for last, then prefacing the big revelation by telling his audience he has "one more thing."

This year, that "thing" was the ultra-thin MacBook Air laptop; in 2007, Jobs gave Macworld attendees the first glimpse of the iPhone. A decade earlier, as Apple was struggling financially and Jobs had just returned as chief executive, he wrapped up his keynote, paused, and then added: "I almost forgot. We're profitable."

Apple said Philip Schiller, a marketing executive, will deliver the keynote instead of Jobs. The company said it is abandoning Macworld because it has other methods for getting in front of customers, including its growing chain of retail stores.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said it makes sense for Apple to back out because it can generate just as much buzz hosting its own product launch events.

Jobs recovered in 2004 from a rare but treatable form of pancreatic cancer. An Apple spokesman would not directly address questions about Jobs's health.

(photo credit: Robert Galbraith/Reuters)