The Influence of CES Is Waning

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2012-01-09 Print this article Print


5. "Off-season" announcements spend more time in front of people

Regardless of whether Microsoft makes an announcement at an event or through a simple press release, the software giant is more likely to have its announcements hold the spotlight a bit longer when it's not CES time. That's important. The more headlines an announcement can make, the better. The chance of making more headlines is far greater when it's not CES season.

6. Apple's strategy makes sense

Microsoft might want to be a bit more Apple-like. The iPhone maker has been following a PR strategy for years that rebuffs CES and instead focuses on private announcements made around its own major shows and media events. Although some have criticized Apple for that strategy, it makes some sense in light of the other reasons presented above. Now, it seems Microsoft is seeing the value of that.

7. Too many people make CES a less-desirable destination

With the passing years ago of COMDEX and other super trade shows of its ilk, CES is one of the last surviving massive technology trade shows. But, ironically, the more people that attend CES, the less desirable it becomes for those that either have an established following and popular products, or those that are trying to develop a following for a promising new product. It's great for the CEA that more than 100,000 people attend CES each year. But is it really best for the companies? Products get lost in the shuffle. Companies can't show off everything they want in the booths, and sometimes, the wrong media outlets come knocking. Overcrowding has made CES a less-desirable destination for Microsoft.

8. The show is on the decline

It's also important to point out that behind the huge attendance numbers is the fact that the overall influence of CES is declining. Sure, it's a major event with boatloads of announcements coming out of it each year, but it's also a place where fewer big companies make their most important announcements of the year. Some companies, like Microsoft, are even walking out. Like COMDEX before it, CES could soon die. And Microsoft rightfully doesn't want to go down with the ship.

9. Being first is not always a good thing

At times, being the first company to announce something is great. At other times, however, it's a liability. Over the last several years, it appears that Microsoft's CES keynote has become a liability. Microsoft discusses major products, only to watch other companies both at CES and at subsequent events show off something similar or even better. It has happened in the gaming space, in software and in computers. Perhaps Microsoft simply wants to be the second or third company to announce a new product category, and not the first.

10. It's too much pressure

Worst of all, Microsoft's keynote every year puts undue pressure on the software giant and its CEO Steve Ballmer. Each keynote is compared with the last and it's always judged by the quality of the announcements. Who needs that? CES puts too much pressure on Microsoft. And it's about time the company decided to take the pressure off and leave CES for good.

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Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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