Microsoft Pulls Out Of CES, Says 2012 Show Will Be Its Last

Microsoft delivered a bombshell Wednesday by announcing that the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas will be its last CES.

Microsoft made the shocking announcement with CES less than three weeks away. According to a post on the Official Microsoft Blog, the software giant decided to take a new approach to the way it interacts with and communicates with customers.

"Our industry moves fast and changes faster. And so the way we communicate with our customers must change in equally speedy ways," wrote Frank Shaw, corporate vice president of Microsoft's corporate communications. "To ensure it does, we constantly challenge our assumptions. For example: what’s the right time and place to make announcements? Are we adjusting to the changing dynamics of our customers? Are we doing something because it’s the right thing to do, or because ’it’s the way we’ve always done it’?

"After thinking about questions like these, we have decided that this coming January will be our last keynote presentation and booth at CES," Shaw continued. "We’ll continue to participate in CES as a great place to connect with partners and customers across the PC, phone and entertainment industries, but we won’t have a keynote or booth after this year because our product news milestones generally don’t align with the show’s January timing."

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Instead, Shaw wrote that Microsoft will look at "new ways" to connect with customers like Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft's retail stories. Microsoft has delivered a keynote address at CES for more than a decade. In the past, Microsoft Founder Bill Gates and, more recently, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer would kick off the country's biggest technology show with the opening keynote.

The Consumer Electronics Association issued a statement Wednesday that indicated the shakeup was a mutual decision. "In the fourteen years that we have invited Microsoft to deliver a keynote address at CES, the company has unveiled some great innovations, from operating systems to gaming platforms to mobile technologies," the statement read. "Both CEA and Microsoft have agreed that the time has come to end this great run, and so Microsoft will not have a keynote at the 2013 CES."

The CEA stated that next month's show will boast 1.8 million square feet of exhibit space, the second largest show floor in CES history, and 2,700 exhibitors. The organization also announced that it will begin announcing the keynote speaker lineup for CES 2013 next summer.

"Microsoft is an important member of CEA and we wish them all the best as they evolve their plans for new ways to tell consumer stories," the CEA wrote. "We also look forward to their CES keynote on January 9, 2012."