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On-again, off-again MacWorld is on

It was on. It was off-and-on. It paused for a reboot.

Yesterday, MacWorld Expo was on again, scheduled to inaugurate the new Boston Convention and Exhibition Center on July 12, 2004.

The decision was announced by the chief executive of IDG World Expo, David Korse, who had declared in early August that he was reviewing the Boston commitment and would make up his mind by Labor Day. The promised return of the convention for Macintosh computer enthusiasts was hailed by city officials.

"I always believed that Macworld would fulfill its commitment to the City of Boston," Mayor Thomas M. Menino said in a telephone interview. "We're really the center of technology. We're the Silicon Valley of the East."

James Rooney, acting executive director of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, said yesterday that local officials did not offer any new incentives to rope in IDG. The company will still get to use the new convention center for free, but other incentives, including use of the Boston Public Library and the Parkman House for receptions, are now on a "We'll see" list, he said.

Last year, IDG announced that it planned to bring MacWorld back to Boston in 2004, after having moved it to New York in 1997. But the promised luster of the event dimmed when Apple Computer, maker of the Macintosh, scaled back its participation in the New York event and said it had no plans to participate in a Boston convention. IDG had never signed a contract with the convention authority, and Korse began a review of the Boston plan.

On Aug. 9, Korse said that if the convention did return to Boston, it would shed the MacWorld title in favor of CreativePro, reflecting a change in focus from a general market trade show to one geared to graphic designers and other professionals. IDG canceled blocks of rooms that it had tentatively reserved at hotels for conventioneers.

Yesterday, Korse downplayed his earlier comments, saying the event will be held in Boston July 12-15, as planned, and will retain the MacWorld name and its more general focus.

Korse said it's too early to predict attendance.

Keith Reed can be reached at reed@globe.com.

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