As Apple once did at Macworld, Microsoft has headlned the CES keynote for years now, but when Steve Ballmer takes the stage in 2012, it’ll be for the last time… and the reasons sound very familiar.
Today, Microsoft announced:
We have decided that this coming January will be our last keynote presentation and booth at CES. We’ll continue to participate in CES as a great place to connect with partners and customers across the PC, phone and entertainment industries, but we won’t have a keynote or booth after this year because our product news milestones generally don’t align with the show’s January timing.
As we look at all of the new ways we tell our consumer stories – from product momentum disclosures, to exciting events like our Big Windows Phone, to a range of consumer connection points like Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft.com and our retail stores – it feels like the right time to make this transition.
Sound familiar? It should: Apple said something pretty much identical when it announced it was pulling out of Macworld back in 2008.
Apple is reaching more people in more ways than ever before, so like many companies, trade shows have become a very minor part of how Apple reaches its customers. The increasing popularity of Apple’s Retail Stores, which more than 3.5 million people visit every week, and the Apple.com website enable Apple to directly reach more than a hundred million customers around the world in innovative new ways.
Poor Microsoft, always four years behind Apple in everything.