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By 23 December 2011 | Categories: news

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The Consumer Electronics Show, (CES) which happens annually at the beginning of each year in Las Vegas, is arguably one of the year’s biggest technology events. However, Microsoft announced this week that the forthcoming event in January, running from the 10th to the 13th, will be its last.
 
“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,” explained Frank X. Shaw, the corporate vice president for corporate communications at Microsoft on the company’s blog.
 
Shifting sands
 
The move says perhaps as much about the technology industry in general – and how companies are approaching making major announcements - than it does about the Microsoft itself. Shaw pointed out what has become only too apparent this year – that the industry “moves fast and changes faster,” and this has meant that the way the company communicated with its customers needed to change equally as quickly.  
 
To this end, the company had considered what was the right time and place to make announcements and whether it was “doing something because it’s the right thing to do, or because it’s the way we’ve always done it?”
 
Shaw elaborated that the company was looking at ‘new ways we tell its consumer stories’ – such as product momentum disclosures, and a range of consumer connection points like Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft.com.
 
This greater focus on adaptability is possibly the most interesting aspect of the development. After all, Microsoft has been involved in the Consumer Electronics Show, run by the Consumer Electronics Association, for almost 20 years.
 
A broader trend
 
Microsoft is not the only one to seek a new approach to launching new products – Apple pulled out the CES show in 2008 – and since has launched major developments, such as the iPad, at its own dedicated events.
 
Locally though, and very recently, we saw technology companies opting for the same approach, with Canon SA bowing out of the Photo and Film expo in favour of holding its own dedicated expo two months later.
 
The shift reminds of the rather old but still highly relevant Bob Dylan line – ‘times, they are a-changing.’ That is the one thing – maybe one of the few things -  that has certainly stayed the same.

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