Microsoft pulling out of Consumer Electronics Show after 2012

Microsoft Corp., a 20-year stalwart of the annual Consumer Electronics Show, has decided to pull out of the largest trade show of its kind.

The company’s chief executive often gave the keynote address, highlighting its own products and broader tech trends. But the company said it would stop doing so after the 2012 CES. It also will no longer have an exhibit.

CES is one of the world’s largest trade shows and annually attracts more than 100,000 visitors to Las Vegas from all over the globe. 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, some observers questioned the show’s relevance when no blockbuster new products were announced. Instead, most companies chose to introduce marginally improved 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.

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

The company said its decision came 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’?”

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