Microsoft Announces 2012 CES Will Be Its Last

DANICA TORMOHLEN, EDITOR-AT-LARGE
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Redmond, WA –Microsoft announced yesterday that 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) will be its last to feature a keynote presentation and booth. “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,” wrote Frank Shaw, corporate vice president, corporate communications, in The Official Microsoft Blog.

CES, produced by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), is coming up January 10-13 in Las Vegas. “Microsoft is one of our 10 largest exhibitors but not in the top five,” Karen Chupka, senior vice president, events and conferences, CEA, told Trade Show Executive.

Microsoft has a 16,000 square foot booth at the entrance to the Central Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center along with meeting rooms and hospitality suites totaling 3,000 nsf. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is scheduled to deliver the pre-show keynote at next month’s CES.

Will Microsoft’s decision hurt CES? The organizers said they have received expressions of interest for that space from companies on the long waiting list for Central Hall exhibit space. In past years, Central Hall exhibit space has sold out within hours, the CEA reported. In addition, Microsoft is not expected to be fully absent; the company will have a presence in the show in other ways. And history reveals that when an anchor exhibitor drops out of any trade show, it is often back within a few years.

The 2010 CES ranked #1 on the Trade Show Executive Gold 100 last year, attracted 126,641 total attendees and 2,491 exhibiting companies, covering 1.4 million net square feet of exhibit space.

“Microsoft let us know that they did not plan on taking exhibit space during space selection but wanted to have conversations with us after the show about how their various business units may participate in 2013,” Chupka told Trade Show Executive. Microsoft has a 20-year working relationship with the CEA. “We look forward to working with CEA for many years to come,” said Shaw.

In his blog, Shaw also wrote, “As we look at all of the new ways we tell our consumer stories – from product momentum disclosures, to exciting events like our Big Windows Phone, to a range of consumer connection points like Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft.com and our retail stores – it feels like the right time to make this transition.”

Reach Karen Chupka at (703) 907-7639 or kchupka@CE.org