Microsoft Says 2012 CES Will Mark Its Final Participation

Microsoft dropped a bombshell Wednesday by announcing that next January’s Consumer Electronics Show will be it’s last as a major participating member.

Ironically, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will give the keynote address at CES 2012.

Microsoft says its departure makes sense in light of the way changing times are requiring Microsoft to find new ways to connect and communicate with consumers. Consequently, Microsoft will no longer provide keynote addresses or maintain a booth at the annual event.

“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,” reveals Frank X. Shaw, corporate vice president of corporate communications at Microsoft. “Microsoft has enjoyed a close to 20-year working relationship with the Consumer Electronics Association — and we look forward to working with CEA for many years to come,” Shaw added.

Comparable to Apple’s product introduction strategy, Microsoft plans to make all future company announcements regarding products and technologies at their own private media events.

The real question now is whether CES can survive and thrive without Microsoft. Does this move remind you of Apple’s departure from Macworld? If so, can CES muddle through without Microsoft the way Macworld is staying afloat without Apple?