Microsoft to lower its profile at CES

As usual, Microsoft will deliver a keynote presentation at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show—but that will be the last time it does so, a company executive said in a blog post Wednesday. After the 2012 show (January 10 to 13 in Las Vegas), Microsoft won't give a keynote or even rent a booth at the consumer electronics extravaganza.

In the blog post, Frank Shaw, vice president for corporate communications, wrote, "Our industry moves fast and changes faster. And so the way we communicate with our customers must change in equally speedy ways."

The company is looking for new approaches to promoting its products, including in-house events, Facebook and Twitter announcements, and information on Microsoft.com, Shaw wrote.

"As we look at all of the new ways we tell our consumer stories…it feels like the right time to make this transition," he said. "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 has worked with CES sponsor the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) for nearly 20 years, and the company will continue to work with the trade group, Shaw said.

In a statement, the CEA said that it and Microsoft "have agreed that the time has come to end this great run" of 14 annual keynotes at CES by the company. Microsoft has unveiled some "great innovations" during that time, the trade group said.

Microsoft will not request exhibit space in the CES Great Hall in 2013, CEA added.

"We have received expressions of interest for that space from the long waiting list for Central Hall exhibit space," CEA 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."

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service.

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