Comdex is always supposed to have a theme. The obvious topic for this one, number 20, is the fate of the convention's original attendees, the computer makers and the independent stores that sold their products. They used to convene here in Las Vegas every fall to settle on the products they'd be selling together for the next year, but no more. They live on in name Comdex is short for Computer Dealers Exposition but are otherwise extinct, consigned to economic oblivion.
Never mind what superchains and catalogues like Circuit City, CompUSA and PC Warehouse did to the corner computer store. The real culprit is Dell and its direct-sales tactics. In the last year Dell has become the biggest PC maker on the planet, and it doesn't have any dealers at all. MORE >>