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Macworld: Short on Fireworks, Long on Substance

Apple King Steve Jobs' Macworld keynote (dubbed "Stevenote" by techies) wasn't well-received on Wall Street: the company's stock fell 5.5 percent following the annual address, more than twice the 2.5 percent decline of the larger Nasdaq Composite Index. Apparently, a new ultra-thin laptop, a video rental service, a new-look Apple TV, and a bunch of new software upgrades weren't enough for the legions of Mac-hungry investors.

Indeed, it would be hard to trump last year's iPhone unveiling, but industry critics believe this year's Macworld was just as impactful as the 2007 edition. "Even in a year where there were no tsunamis coming out of Macworld, the company showed that it can still make waves," Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg said. With the 0.8-inch thick MacBook Air (cost: $1800), "they're creating products that hard-core fans and new customers can love, too," he said.

In an interview, Jobs said: "This time, I think we nailed it," with regard to the movie rental service and Apple TV. 20th Century Fox CEO Jim Gianopolous characterized the movie rental arrangement as a "no-brainer." The News Corp. studio and four other majors agreed to rent movies through iTunes. "I think this will be a transformative version of the rental model," Gianopolous added.

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Jobs said the rental service is something Apple had been after for some time. "We think this is the way most people are going to want to get their movies. The lightbulb went off for us on this quite a while ago."

Read the whole story at Business Week »

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