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Microsoft may stop keynoting CES after 2012 to emulate Apple

updated 09:55 am EST, Fri December 9, 2011

Microsoft said scaling back CES presence

Microsoft may take a page from Apple and step back from major trade shows, Microsoft-focused journalist Mary Jo Foley said in the latest episode of the Windows Weekly podcast. Near the end of the show, she told of a source who understood that Microsoft would dial back its presence at the annual January CES show after 2012. The Windows developer would still likely have a footprint, but it would most likely drop the near-traditional Steve Ballmer keynote and, presumably, scale back the size of its booth on the show floor.

The same contact made it clear that the goal would be to copy Apple's strategy of focusing primarily on self-run events. By dictating its own schedule, Microsoft could unveil products only when they're close enough to being ready or avoid having to generate filler. Apple's approach helped set expectations, something which Microsoft clearly liked.

"This is the way Microsoft's going too," Foley paraphrased the source as saying.

Its CES keynotes in recent years have increasingly skewed towards recaps of recent updates and showing far-from-finished products. The company had several CES announcements this year, but most were minor or ultimately weren't going to ship for months. Other elements, like Windows Phone discussions, weren't new at all.

For Microsoft, the most symbolic keynote was its CES 2010 presentation. Knowing that the iPad was likely imminent, Ballmer pitched the HP Slate as a preemptive iPad killer and showed a very early Windows 7 tablet with no real details or release plans. The eventual Slate 500 wouldn't ship for another nine months and proved to be representative of everything Microsoft was doing wrong in tablets, amounting to being just a netbook without a keyboard and a premium $799 price. HP, deciding that the Slate 500 couldn't compete against the iPad, not only relegated the tablet to Windows tablets' traditional enterprise niche but bought Palm for $1.2 billion in the hopes of getting a more Apple-like alternative.

Doubts exist as to whether or not Microsoft will have much to show for CES this year. It may preview the Windows 8 public beta, but with a release not due until late February, it might not be in a presentable state. Microsoft has already released its major Xbox 360 Dashboard update and Windows Phone 7.5, leaving it with a handful of minor items like an LTE Windows Phone for AT&T as candidates.

By Electronista Staff


  1. Grendelmon

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Dec 2007


    " emulate Apple"

    *rolls eyes*

  1. slapppy

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2008


    Why not.

    MS copies just about everything Apple does anyway.

  1. ATPTourFan

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2003


    Maybe Microsoft should...

    ... attempt to emulate Apple not by changing their marketing presence at trade shows, but rather by increasing the quality of their products.

  1. mytdave

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2000



    Can't that company come up with one, just one idea on their own?

  1. climacs

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 2001



    sure they can.

    ...oh, you mean a GOOD idea. Hmm...

    OK they did come up with Kinect. That's pretty awesome. Other than that... crickets chirping.

  1. malax

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2006


    Good for CES

    This will give that trade show more options for a keynote speaker that would actually generate interest.

  1. Foxypaco

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2010



    Still makes the best version of Minesweeper ever created though.

  1. Paul Huang

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 1999


    Ballmer is an embarrASSment anyway

    Good riddance.

  1. Fonejacker

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2010


    Kinect own idea??

    I read somewhere, that it was an Israeli company who came up with it, tried to sell it to Apple, who turned it down, they then tried Microcopy, they loved it, bought it, then sold it as a Microcopy idea and product. Very much like most of their products (copies or bought from another company), even Word was not developed by Microcopy initially. I believe Apple are working on their version of Kinect, probably to work with their TV product in 2012 or 2013. Bring it on Apple, we need decent TV's without the rubbish controls we have.

    Shame Uncle Fester won't amuse us after this one, he always made me laugh.

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008


    The Kinect does seem to be

    a very good produce with wide appeal. That's something Apple might want to try to copy. Oh, wait... Apple doesn't have a gaming console or anything close to it. Make that something else Apple might want to try to copy.

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