This year will be Microsoft’s last year at CES where the company usually runs the keynote and takes up a huge portion of the show floor. “In looking at all the ways that Microsoft is now reaching its’ customers today (its’ owned events, marketing campaigns, retail stores, etc.) this felt like a natural time to make this transition,” wrote an MS PR rep.
This will also be the last time CEO Steve Ballmer keynotes the show.
The software (and hardware) giant usually commanded a great swathe of the CES show floor including tents outside the convention center. Traditionally a PC-centric show, CES has slowly moved into an event dedicated to iPhone/iPod accessories and, to a lesser extent, other electronics including cameras, PC components, and mobile devices. Because there are currently a plethora of potential shows where Microsoft could exhibit, including both MWC in Barcelona and CTIA for mobile and its own events for Windows-related news, not to mention a huge presence at E3 for Xbox, it’s clear that the audience at CES is now less important to Microsoft on the aggregate.