At the first Consumer Electronics Show (CES) since Microsoft gave up its prominent booth spot, longtime attendees to CES 2013 missed the legendary Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates opening keynote address. Ballmer and Gates dazzled CES keynote opener attendees for 15 of the last 18 shows. Although Microsoft’s mammoth booth and keynote departures were noticeably missing, they weren’t completely absent. Several Microsoft executives appeared on stage at various forums, but its reduced presence may signal the future of the computer’s spotlight at CES.
Technology experts continue to debate on whether Microsoft’s departure from a prominent role to a low-key presence at CES 2013 was a smart move. Los Angeles Times technology reporters noted the unfounded predictions for a disappointing CES 2013 without Microsoft and other leading computer industry players as South Korea’s Samsung stole the show.
Not Quite Gone or Forgotten
Ballmer made a surprise appearance at the opening keynote by Qualcomm. Microsoft Windows executive Tami Reller announced 60 million in Windows 8 licenses sold to date on stage at the JP Morgan Tech Forum.
Perhaps most importantly according to PCWorld, manufacturing partners touted Windows 8 devices with exuberance. New Windows 8 devices were unveiled from the likes of Acer, Asus, Lenovo, Razer, and Samsung among others. Intel featured low-power processors to extend battery life for next generation Windows tablets and laptops. In the automotive electronics section, Ford’s promotion prominently displayed the Microsoft brand.
Not the Only CES 2013 No-Show
Other iconic computer industry absentees included Amazon, Apple, Dell, Facebook, Google, and HP. It seems the cost of CES participation doesn’t equal the Return on Investment (ROI) for the computing industry. At CES, computing takes a backseat to home electronics, automotive wizardry, appliance magic, and glitzy gadgets. Doing product launches in-house to build product buzz, instead of spending on CES, has become the trend.
Although, PCWorld reported on much insider hinting that the tech giants may be saving up to make more of an internationally prominent appearance at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona instead of CES, at least for new mobile and smartphone products.
Did Windows 8 Miss its Chance at CES 2013?
Several technology experts lamented Microsoft missing its big chance to promote Windows 8 at CES 2013. While Microsoft partners were lauded for their Microsoft stand-in cheerleading through showcasing their own new products and features utilizing Windows 8, they weren’t always the best representatives to speak for Windows 8.
At least one significant missed media opportunity was noted by Sci-tech Today. A representative at one Microsoft partner stand-in’s booth, Sony, was stumped when asked by an Associated Press (AP) reporter whether the regular Windows 8 or Windows 8 Professional would be better for reporters to use…
Not surprisingly, a reporter from the Los Angeles Times tracked down a Microsoft Windows 8 product manager during the CES 2013 show to elaborate on the potential lost opportunity and the possibly rough road ahead for consumers to embrace Windows 8.
Only time will tell whether Microsoft’s gamble to skip the spotlight at CES 2013 will negatively affect its business and whether alternate media marketing avenues will make up the difference. As for CES, the show will go on regardless.
Eric Halberg enjoys keeping up with the latest developments in cable technology. His articles mainly appear on tech blogs. Visit Cable TV Advisor for more information.