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Thursday December 22, 2011 12:30 pm

CES 2012 keynote will be the last one by Microsoft


Posted by Andru Edwards - Categories: CES, CES 2012, Microsoft


Microsoft announced today that Steve Ballmer's keynote at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) will be the software giant's last.

"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," Microsoft said in a statement.

Ballmer is scheduled to take the stage at CES in Las Vegas on Jan. 9 at 6:30pm. It will be the Microsoft CEO's third keynote appearance; he took over in 2009 after Bill Gates retired in 2008 to focus on philanthropic efforts.

In recent years, however, the Microsoft CES keynotes have not included anything particularly spectacular or unexpected.


The 2009 keynote, for example, included the release of the Windows 7 public beta, two additions to its Halo gaming lineup, and the worldwide availability of Windows Live Essentials.

The following year, on the heels of Windows 7's October release, Ballmer showed off an HP tablet and said that "Project Natal," later renamed Kinect, would be released in time for the 2010 holiday season. The software giant also contended with a brief power outage.

Earlier this year, Ballmer's keynote included stats on Kinect (8 million sold), gesture- and voice-based access to Netflix and Hulu Plus via Kinect, and plans for Windows Phone 7's first software update.

Two of Microsoft's major product releases in recent years have happened in the fall—Windows 7 in October 2009 and its Windows Phone 7 lineup in October 2010. There was talk that Redmond might release a public beta of Windows 8 at CES 2012, but the company said recently that that will likely happen in February.

Instead, we'll probably hear more about the Nokia-branded Windows Phone 7 devices coming to the United States, some talk about Windows 8 and maybe tablet plans, and more stats about Kinect and the Xbox.

What else would you like to see from Microsoft? And how does this impact CES? In a world where news can spread in seconds via Twitter or Facebook, how much longer will major trade shows be relevant?

In a statement, the Consumer Electronics Association, which produces CES, said "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."

"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 continued.

CEA also confirmed that Microsoft will not have exhibit space in the conference's Central Hall, but "we have received expressions of interest for that space from the long waiting list for Central Hall exhibit space," the organization said. "Exhibitors will choose space for the 2013 CES during the 2012 show, and in past years available Central Hall exhibit space has sold out within hours."

This article, written by Chloe Albanesius, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.

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