updated 12:55 pm EST, Wed December 21, 2011
Microsoft takes Apple cue to control its own event
Microsoft confirmed late rumors and said it would make 2012 its last CES keynote. Company Corporate Communications VP Frank Shaw said the company's launch windows "generally don’t align" with the January show and that it didn't make sense to have a keynote or booth in the future. Shaw indirectly admitted that the company was increasingly keynoting CES because it was "the way we've always done it" rather than for actual product launches, which were often months after the show.
"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," he said.
Microsoft would still circulate at CES, but it would be talking primarily to partners.
The strategy and the justifications for it are a direct emulation of Apple's exit after Macworld 2009. At the time, Apple warned that the third-party keynote was increasingly out of step with its launch plans. Although not mentioned overtly, the company often felt it was rushing products to make an arbitrary unveiling date rather than have them ready.
Microsoft has lately been burned by its insistence on keeping to the arbitrary CES keynotes. Most of its 2011 keynote recapped recent events or was a preview of technology months away. CES 2010 proved to be the most infamous for the company, as it tried to make the HP Slate a preemptive iPad killer but watched as HP lost interest in the goal, bought Palm for webOS, and relegated the Slate to enterprise after it doubted that a Windows 7 tablet would fare well pitted directly against the iPad.