Gartner cancels two biggest IT events

Financially struggling Nortel Networks has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US.

At the same time analyst group Gartner has cancelled two of its biggest technology events - its Spring Symposium/ITxpo in Las Vegas and in Barcelona - because of the recession.

Nortel, once a networking giant, is seeking creditor protection in the US, Canada and Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), it said in a statement.

Nortel gave "full consideration to the alternatives" to bankruptcy, but given the current economic downturn decided that bankruptcy is in the company's best interest long term.

The telecommunications equipment vendor will undertake "a comprehensive business and financial restructuring" and expects to emerge from the bankruptcy process "more focused, financially sound and competitive".

Nortel had a US$107 million bond payment due this week. Last month, the New York Stock Exchange informed the company it would be delisted if its share price did not rise above the minimum $1 within six months.

Gartner, meanwhile, has cancelled two events scheduled for May, which traditionally highlight emerging technology trends and were to feature a star-studded list of IT speakers and Gartner analysts.

The Symposium/ITxpo, described as a "flagship" event 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 has been seen by Computerworld.

"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.

The analyst group said it would integrate the more technology focussed content of its cancelled spring shows into its autumn Symposium/ITxpo events in Orlando, Cannes, Cape Town, Tokyo and Sydney, and at its smaller Summit events.

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.

Earlier this month, Gartner filed a notice with the US authorities saying it would lay off 117 employees, or about 3% of its workforce.

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