* Apple CEO Jobs won't give Macworld keynote
* 2009 is last year Apple will exhibit
* Shares fall 2.5 percent after hours
(Adds additional comments, context, byline)
By Gabriel Madway
SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 16 Apple Inc (AAPL.O) said
on Tuesday that Chief Executive Steve Jobs will not deliver the
keynote address at the Macworld trade show next month, reviving
some investors' concerns about the state of his health and
sending the company's shares down 3 percent.
Apple also said 2009 will be the last year it exhibits at
Macworld, claiming that trade shows are now a "minor" way it
Analysts said Apple's withdrawal from Macworld after next
year did not necessarily mean that Jobs was sick, but could
indicate that the company has no blockbuster product
Instead of Jobs, Philip Schiller, the senior vice president
of worldwide product marketing, will deliver the keynote.
Asked whether the move was related to Jobs' much-discussed
health, Apple spokesman Steve Dowling said: "Phil is giving the
keynote because this will be Apple's last year at the show, and
it doesn't make sense for us to make a major investment in a
trade show we'll no longer be attending."
Macworld is a cultural event that draws thousands of Apple
fans and technology aficionados to San Francisco, where they
have been treated to major announcements from Jobs in past
years, including the launch of the iPhone in 2007. The many
blogs that follow Apple's every move have been buzzing for
weeks about possible product launches at this year's event.
A showman, Jobs often took to the Macworld stage amid
cheers and applause from thousands of software developers,
customers and employees and ended presentations by saying "One
more thing..." as a prelude to something unexpected.
Pacific Crest Securities analyst Andy Hargreaves said it's
not surprising that the company would pull out of the event,
especially if they don't have a blockbuster product
announcement. He said the company's customer base has broadened
and it no longer needs a huge event to rally its fans.
"I don't think this announcement has a big impact on the
company's valuation, or it shouldn't," Hargreaves said.
However, Samuel Wilson, an analyst at JMP Securities, said
Jobs' absence at the event was important. "It's like the first
time in a long time he hasn't spoken in Macworld. Why is he not
speaking this year would be the question."
Investors have been concerned about the cancer survivor's
health after he appeared thin at another product launch in
June. In 2004, Jobs, 53, said he had undergone successful
surgery to remove a rare type of pancreatic cancer.
In September, Jobs, who is often perceived as irreplaceable
as Apple's leader, appeared thin but jaunty as he introduced
new iPod digital music players.
Apple has also been hit by investor concerns about weakened
consumer spending amid a struggling U.S. economy. Goldman Sachs
downgraded the company's shares earlier this week, saying it
expects the company to face a tougher environment in the coming
Apple shares have lost about half their value since June.
IDG World Expo, which owns Macworld, released a statement
saying it was disappointed with Apple's decision to pull out,
but said "we look forward to many more successful years of
Macworld to come."
Apple also said it will continue to hold product launch
Last year, Macworld saw the launch of the MacBook Air, the
company's ultrathin portable computer. The iPhone mobile phone
and iTunes music store were also both unveiled at Macworld in
Shares of Cupertino, California-based Apple closed at
$95.43, up 68 cents on Nasdaq. The stock fell to $93 in
(Additional reporting by David Lawsky)
(Reporting by Gabriel Madway; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe,