Microsoft's CES Swan Song: 10 Reasons Why It's Ending Long Relationship

NEWS ANALYSIS: Microsoft has said that it plans to stop participating in the annual Consumer Electronic Show after this year. The evolution of the show and its own marketing strategy over the years have given Microsoft many reasons for doing so.

Microsoft has announced that its 2012 CES appearance will be its last. From here on out, the company will instead focus on other shows, including events it produces itself to market its many products. As one might expect, Microsoft's decision was a blow to the Consumer Electronics Association, the organization that puts on the Consumer Electronics Show, but it also speaks to how CES, in particular, and trade shows, in general, fit into Microsoft's overall marketing strategy.

The fact is, Microsoft has several (understandable) reasons to leave CES. Over the years, the show, which has become one of the most important consumer technology shows of the year, has also become a bloated and poorly focused venue where too many products are vying for attention. Not only does this make it increasingly difficult for the top products to get noticed, but many of the products that do get attention are those that have little-to-no chance of becoming a major sales success or even making it to store shelves. All these factors weighed on Microsoft's decision to back away from the show after being a highly visible participant for many years.

Read on to find out why Microsoft is leaving the Consumer Electronics Show after this year:

1. It's at the wrong time for Microsoft's launch cycle

January is a tough time for a company like Microsoft to announce new products. Typically, the software giant launches new products towards the end of the year, and January either falls after those launches or long before it's ready to unveil details. Windows announcements are one thing, but for all other products, introducing important new products just doesn't make sense in the early days of a new year.

2. Other events are appealing
Over the last several years, Microsoft has been heading out to more events, like the E3 Gaming Expo, to show off products. Those shows are far more appealing to the software giant, due to their timing and scope. As a result, CES has faded in importance when it comes to reaching specific consumer product markets.

3. It's better to have your own show

Microsoft has also done a fine job of holding its own shows and events to attract attention to its products. The move makes a lot of sense. Why share the spotlight with a mob of companies all vying for attention when your own show shines the spotlight on you and your selected partners. In today's hotly contested technology industry, it's far better to have your own show.

4. Announcements get lost in the other news

The biggest problem with CES is that there are a host of companies making major announcements. So, when Microsoft talks about one of its new products, it doesn't take long for it to get lost in the news. The CES keynote Microsoft holds every year costs significant money and time. Why should Microsoft want the news that comes out of it to get lost amid all the other press releases?

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...