10 Reasons Why Microsoft Should Have Discussed Security At CES

News Analysis: The big news that came out of CES was a tsunami of new smartphones and tablet PC designs. But Microsoft, arguably the most important company at the show, could have made security the theme at CES this year. Unfortunately, it didn't. And users are left wondering how to keep their data secure going forward.

The Consumer Electronics Show is a spectacle. It's a place where massive tech companies and small startups come together to show off neat, new ideas. Some companies focus on PCs, others attempt to innovate with products that consumers have never seen.

For the tech lover, it's an exciting show that kicks off the new year. The only problem is, so many of the products on the showroom floor won't hit store shelves in the next year. Still others are concept items that may or may not work in a real-life setting. In too many cases, CES blinds consumers with flashy products that they might never see in their homes.

As disappointing as that might be, it's how things go at CES. But just because there is a certain norm that all companies align with, it doesn't mean that Microsoft, arguably one of the most important companies at CES, couldn't have spent its time at the show talking about security.

It might not be as exciting as a new tablet or Project Natal, but security has the greatest impact on both consumers and the enterprise. And considering Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer gave the keynote address that kicked off CES, he could have made a big splash.

Instead, Ballmer spent his time talking about phones and computers. On the showroom floor, Microsoft did nothing to push forward the hope for better security. It was a missed opportunity for the software giant. And it could cost it in the court of public opinion. Here's why Microsoft should have discussed security at CES:

1. The keynote

Unlike any other company at the Consumer Electronics Show, Microsoft had an opportunity to exploit captive media attention at its keynote address. Microsoft could have discussed how it plans to implement a security plan that will help keep users' data far more secure than it has in the past. Ballmer's keynote was an opportunity for Microsoft to set the tone for security in 2010. It missed the mark.

2. Worries over Windows 7

Although Ballmer spent time discussing the success of Windows 7 during his keynote, it didn't do anything to allay user fears. Since the release of Windows 7, both consumers and the enterprise have been concerned about the security of Microsoft's latest operating system. CES could have been the ideal place for Microsoft to attract media attention and discuss why users can trust Microsoft with their data.

3. Microsoft's reputation

This year, Microsoft could have made it clear that it has heard user complaints. It knows users don't always trust Windows, and it will address those problems going forward. Instead, the company focused on flashy tech. Microsoft's security woes are well known. Why not use CES, arguably the biggest platform in technology, to address its identity troubles?

4. Apple wasn't there

Whenever Apple is showing off technology, it tends to steal the show. But Apple wasn't at CES. By discussing security, Microsoft would have been able to dictate the discussion without worrying about Apple debating points it would have made about securing data. Once again, Microsoft has given Apple the ability to dominate the security discourse.

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...