Microsoft Abandoning CES

December 21, 2011, By George Lang

The 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Vegas will be Microsoft’s last. Citing product release scheduling discrepancies with the event, vice president of corporate communications, Frank Shaw, made the announcement via the company blog. A simultaneous announcement was issued by event host, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). Both announcements were complimentary to the other party and indicated the intention to maintain a working relationship going forward.

For thirteen years, Microsoft CEO Bill Gates (and more recently Steve Ballmer) has delivered the keynote address at the event. The upcoming event, January of 2012, will mark the end of that tradition. With this move, Microsoft adopts the long-held approach of none other than Steve Jobs himself whose Apple Corporation has never participated in the event; instead, choosing to launch products with special invitationals hosted by the company itself.

Microsoft is working hard on its Windows 8 operating system with release scheduled for late 2012. A big part of that platform coincides with its mobility initiative (e.g., Windows Phone 8 and Windows tablets) and releases of new processor technology from chip manufacturers (e.g., NVIDIA, AMD, and Intel), as reported in earlier DeviceMag articles.

With the current announcement, Microsoft draws a 2012/2013 line in the sand. If successfully released before the end of 2012, Microsoft will have captured the attention of a large media blitz over the holiday season, effectively taking much of the wind out of the sails of the CES announcements for 2013. This, coupled with Apple product releases scheduled for mid-2012 (e.g., iPhone 5, iPad 3, and Apple HDTV), could take a big bite out of smaller vendors market anticipation for 2013.

Three of the biggest consumer electronic giants, Microsoft, Google, and Apple have abandoned the annual CES event. The impact should be felt throughout the industry. Please, share your thoughts with us by leaving your comments below.

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