Comdex Fall '98 Direct Sales Dilemma at COMDEX
By Jennifer Kronstain
LAS VEGAS--Conversations on the show floor--and among cabbies for that matter--surrounded much of what was not at COMDEX last month. Most perceived a smaller-than-expected crowd combing the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center and Sands Expo & Convention Center and snagging taxis from the locals. Pre-show estimates had numbers near a quarter-million, but the actual turnout was likely around 200,000.
Besides attendants, however, there were other notable absences and reductions--those of key industry players. Intel, whose decision not to build a booth on the main floor was publicized in a Wall Street Journal article, occupied a small meeting room. And computer giants IBM and Compaq brought only elements of their machines, with Compaq hidden away in meeting rooms while showing its C-Series Handheld PC as part of the Microsoft Partner Pavilion--this shortly after announcing its intention to begin a direct sales initiative to rival PC-makers Gateway and Dell.