Microsoft will no longer have a major presence at the largest consumer electronics trade show in the world after next month’s event.
For almost 20 years Microsoft’s booth was one of the largest on the show floor at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, and the company has also given numerous keynote addresses during the show, however the decision has been taken that it will no longer take part in such a big way in the future.
The decision was announced by Frank X. Shaw, Corporate Vice President, Corporate Communications at Microsoft, on the company’s blog. In a rather direct note, Shaw said the reason for pulling out of CES was “because our product news milestones generally don’t align with the show’s January timing.”
He went on to say: “We’ll continue to participate in CES as a great place to connect with partners and customers across the PC, phone and entertainment industries, but we won’t have a keynote or booth after this year.”
Steve Ballmer is due to give his final keynote on Monday, 9 January in Las Vegas but since Microsoft announced the decision and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) confirmed it, reports have emerged that the decision was not entirely the Redmond company’s own choice.
GigaOM quoted a source saying: "Microsoft didn't pull out of the keynote — they were kicked out." However, The Verge also spoke to a source who said that the truth was, the CEA wanted Microsoft to sign a new three-year keynote and presenting deal following last year’s CES. Microsoft turned the offer down and signed on for just one more year (2012) with the seperation a entirely amicable one.
We'll be on hand in Las Vegas to see what Ballmer has to say in his final CES keynote, but with Microsoft now pulling out of CES, the likelihood of us seeing a repeat of the performance from Ballmer above is slimmer. Oh well.
So Microsoft will join the likes of Apple and Nintendo in failing to have a major presence at CES in the future. Is it a sign that the power of CES is waning? Or does it mean that Microsoft is big enough and bold enough to do things on its own terms? Let us know what you think in the comments.