In another bad sign of health for the IT industry, Gartner is cancelling two of its biggest technology conferences due to the economic downturn.
The research and consulting firm is cancelling its Spring Symposium/ITxpo in Las Vegas and Barcelona.
Both scheduled in May, the conferences highlighted emerging technology trends, were attended by IT managers and CIOs, and featured a star-studded list of IT speakers and Gartner analysts.
The Symposium/ITxpo, called the "flagship" on Gartner's website, also stood out for often generating news. For instance, at last year's event, Gartner analysts warned that Windows was "collapsing" under its own bloated codebase, and that Microsoft needed to make radical overhauls.
"Every year, as a normal course of business planning, we conduct a thorough review of our worldwide event portfolio and make adjustments based on the trends and performance of individual events," said Gartner in a statement sent to the SageCircle analyst relations blog, which first broke the news, and seen byComputerworld.
"As a result of this review, we have decided to cancel this year's Spring Symposium/ITxpo in Las Vegas and Barcelona. While a number of factors influenced this decision, the primary reason for the change is the current macro economic environment and its anticipated impact on attendee travel and overall event attendance," Gartner said in the statement.
"Traditionally, Spring Symposium/ITxpo focused on emerging trends and technologies. We look forward to leveraging this rich body of content at our flagship Fall Symposium/ITxpo events in Orlando, Cannes, Cape Town, Tokyo and Sydney, and at our targeted Summit events worldwide, providing more value to our clients and attendees," the statement said.
Carter Lusher, a strategist at SageCircle, said the move was not surprising. Besides slashed travel budgets and dried-up vendor marketing dollars, the Spring Symposiums "never achieved the level of success of the Fall conferences in Orlando or even Cannes [France]."
While last year's Gartner spring event in Las Vegas drew about 2,000 attendees, the Orlando Symposium/ITxpo in the Fall drew 6,000 attendees.
Gartner CEO Gene Hall has been "pretty ruthless when it comes to cutting underperforming services," Lusher said. "If you're not contributing revenue or profits, you're gone."
Earlier this month, Gartner filed a notice with the SEC saying it would lay off 117 employees, or about 3 percent of its workforce.
The cancellation of the conferences, Lusher said, is also proof that "the entire conference industry is suffering."