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Microsoft's reduced role at Vegas gadget show raises questions

Observers wonder about lack of Windows 8 operating system promotions at CES show.
By MICHAEL LIEDTKE and RYAN NAKASHIMA Published: January 12, 2013
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The company, which is based in Redmond, Wash., decided it no longer makes sense to invest as much time and money in CES as it once did. Windows 8 was still more than nine months away from hitting the market when Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer kicked off last year's CES with a keynote address that was billed as the company's swan song at the show.

“We are very comfortable with our decision,” Microsoft spokesman Frank Shaw said. “It has been a productive show for us this year.”

Microsoft's retreat from CES puzzled some attendees curious about Windows 8. For instance, when Michael Sullivan showed up at computer maker Asus' booth, which was stocked with Windows 8 computers, there was no one around to discuss the machines or the software.

“This is unusual,” said Sullivan, CEO of computer sales firm Spec 4 International Inc. “I don't understand why a successful company isn't bringing executives here.”

Asus invited some CES attendees to learn more about Windows 8 at a nearby hotel, away from the show's main trade show. Asus has left its booth unmanned in previous years at CES.

NPD DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim thought Microsoft should have had more people helping to staff its partners' booths because, he said, no one understands how Windows 8 works better than the company that made it.


You couldn't walk through the (CES) floor without seeing people doing really interesting things with Windows 8.”

Frank Shaw,
Microsoft spokesman

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