In somewhat of a surprise, it was revealed yesterday evening that Microsoft had decided to pull-out from CES 2013 and beyond. Rumours had been floating around that the firm had actually been kicked out of its keynote roll at the event, though it's seeming likely that the matter was in fact very much a mutual parting of ways.
Speculation has been on Microsoft taking the Apple approach, pulling out of events where firms are expected to announce new products and must vie for advertising time and space with other companies, as everyone rushes to announce and gain PR for their respective new innovations. Supporting this speculation, the firm officially announced that it felt it was no longer receiving a "reasonable return on its investment"; it costs money to hold a booth and for the privilege of delivering a keynote at CES and of course the whole affair is costly in human resources. Microsoft also stated that the event, held in January, didn't line-up with its product news milestones.
It appears as though the decision was, in part, brought about by the Consumer Electronics Association, CEA, who arranges the CES event, asking for a three-year agreement from Microsoft at a higher rate as it began to shop around for potential alternative keynote speakers; Microsoft, on reflection, opted for a single and final year at the event, after which it would no longer deliver a keynote or hold a booth, though would still attend to network with partners and customers.
In tough economic times, trade-shows tend to be amongst the elements that suffer most and many wonder if broad events such as CES will survive in the wake of more focused events, such as those specifically promoting gaming or mobiles. At least for Microsoft, despite its final attendance, the firm announced that it plans to make no significant announcements at this coming year's event.