Microsoft to pull out of Consumer Electronics Show, go own way


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Microsoft Corp., a 20-year stalwart of the annual Consumer Electronics Show, has decided to fold up its booth and move on after the 2012 show in January.

The company, which for years highlighted its own products and broader tech trends at the show’s main keynote, said it felt that it would be better to make announcements on its own time. The company will no longer give the keynote or host a booth on the trade show floor.


‘Our industry moves fast and changes faster,’ the company said in a statement. ‘And so the way we communicate with our customers must change in equally speedy ways.’

The company said its decision had come after it asked itself, ‘Are we doing something because it’s the right thing to do, or because ‘it’s the way we’ve always done it’?’

CES is one of the world’s largest trade shows and annually attracts more than 100,000 visitors from far flung parts of the electronics industry. This year the show will have close to 2,700 exhibitors and more than 1.8 million square feet of floor space.

But the show, once a marquee launchpad for some of the biggest new technologies, has struggled to stay in the headlines as big companies increasingly announce new products on their own timeline. In 2011, no eye-openingly new products were announced at the Las Vegas show, and most companies chose to introduce televisions, tablets and smartphones that largely resembled existing products.

Apple Inc., arguably the industry’s most popular and innovative company, does not participate in the show.

Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer will give the final keynote Jan. 9.



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-- David Sarno

Steve Ballmer speaks about the Xbox 360 system during his 2011 CES keynote. Credit: Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg