Micro-who? CES not hurt by Microsoft’s absence this year


In the days just before the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show, Microsoft dropped a bombshell: This would be its last major appearance at the mega trade show.

Over the last decade, Microsoft had served as an “anchor tenant,” with its chief executive giving the opening night keynote and having one of the largest booths on the show’s floor. With the tech giant gone, and other biggies like Apple and Google not officially participating, this led to some speculation that CES would suffer a decline this year.

But that’s not been the case.

Earlier this month, the Consumer Electronics Assn. announced that the show had already set a record for the amount of exhibit space it had sold. This year the show’s floor will cover 1.87 million net square feet, up from 1.862 million net square feet at 2012 CES.



Still, I wondered about the other numbers: attendees and exhibitors. In response, CEA spokeswoman Allison Reid wrote:

“Last year we had 156,153 audited attendees and more than 3,100 exhibitors across 1.862 million nsf. This year we are expecting more than 150,000 attendees (we won’t have a final number until after the audit in April), 3,000 exhibitors across more than 1.87 million nsf.”

That’s pretty darn close, with less than two weeks to go until the show. And certainly, it doesn’t look like CES was going over any kind of cliff like the one experienced by Macworld after Apple pulled out after 2009.

Indeed, Microsoft’s prime exhibit space sold fairly quickly after it was released.

In an odd bit of timing, Microsoft probably has more new major products to discuss in recent months than it has in years. That includes the launch of Windows 8, the Surface tablet, and the Windows Phone 8. And early next year, the company will release Microsoft Office 2013 to the general public.

Still, the company had apparently decided that such a large and crowded show made it hard to draw the attention and focus that it wanted for its own products. And expect that there will still be lots of Microsoft partners at the show demonstrating their own devices running Windows 8.



‘Back to the Future’ Lego set coming soon

Nokia to build its own Windows tablet, report says

Steve Jobs’ family, designer Philippe Starck settle yacht dispute

Follow me on Twitter @obrien.