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Microsoft Pulling Out of CES After 2012

December 22, 2011

Microsoft has announced that they will no longer take part in the International Consumer Electronics (CES) Show, ending a 20-year relationship with what the Associated Press (AP) calls the largest industry expo of its kind in the U.S. following the 2012 event.

According to David Sarno of the Los Angeles Times, the Redmond, Washington-based Windows and Xbox 360 manufacturer has decided that they would no longer give a keynote address or host a booth on the floor of the tech-themed trade show. The company announced in a statement that, moving forward, they would make announcements on their own time.

“Our industry moves fast and changes faster, and so the way we communicate with our customers must change in equally speedy ways,” Microsoft representatives said in that statement, according to Starno. Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer is scheduled to give the company’s final CES keynote address on January 9, 2010, the Times reported Wednesday.

AP Technology Writer Peter Svensson notes that Microsoft follows Apple, who previously announced that they too would be withdrawing from the Las Vegas-based show in order to focus instead on private company events.

He added that Microsoft will “continue to use CES as a place to connect with customers,” but would no longer have a booth there “because its product milestones don’t align with the show’s January timing.”

Svensson reports that Ballmer is scheduled to focus his speak on the forthcoming Windows 8 operating system, but since the product is not expected to be ready until late 2010, there will be no official products connected to the software at the expo.

However, Darren Murph of Engadget said that company officials told them that Ballmer would actually be focusing “quite a bit” on Windows Phone and Xbox 360 products. He would not be sharing any “significant” news, they told Murph, but would instead present “a wrap up of the strong year the company has had in consumer.”

In an update to his original article, Murph added, “While Microsoft can’t confirm specifics, we’re getting the impression that the company’s partners will be the ones leading and driving announcements in the CES events to come. And while it wouldn’t comment specifically on the future of MIX or BUILD, we’re told that ‘it will continue to invest in those kinds of owned venues going forward.’”

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the group that organizes CES, told Svensson that they had already been contacted by companies interested in renting Microsoft’s traditional space on the show floor during the 2013 CES. The AP added that the CEA told them that they had “tremendous demand for invitations to hold keynote speeches.”

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Source: RedOrbit Staff & Wire Reports