In a blog post this morning, Microsoft announced that this year would be its last at the tech industry’s most grandiose yearly tradition, the Consumer Electronics Show.Microsoft has traditionally delivered the big pre-show keynote, and has also put up a big booth to demo Microsoft products.
“In looking at all the ways that Microsoft is now reaching its customers today, this felt like a natural time to make this transition,” Microsoft told us.
The tradition stretches all the way back to 1998, when Bill Gates delivered his first keynote at CES. He then delivered the opening keynotes from 2000 until 2009, when Ballmer took over. Previously, Gates was a fixture at COMDEX, a big computer trade show that fell out of favour in the late 1990s (a lot of COMDEX exhibitors moved their emphasis to CES after that).
Hardware and software makers like to use CES as a time to announce new products, but Microsoft has decided to bail on the convention as a platform for launches. “Our product news milestones generally don’t align with the show’s January timing,” the company said in the blog post.
Realistically, mid-January is not the best time to release products. It’s two weeks after the holidays, and is smack dab in the middle of one of the most depressing months of the year.
Steve Ballmer will give Microsoft’s final CES kickoff keynote on January 9. We’ll be there reporting live.