While Microsoft’s official line is that the event does not line up with product schedules for the company, other reports indicated that their relationship with CEA, which runs the event, deteriorated and led to the announcement by Microsoft. As Joshua Topolsky reported:
There's been a bit of back and forth today over Microsoft's announcement that it would be ending its long-standing CES keynote role, and will no longer have a booth at the show as it's done for many years. Head of Microsoft's corporate communications, Frank X. Shaw, posted a rather direct note about it on the company's blog, and the CEA confirmed the move on its blog.
Shortly thereafter, GigaOM posted a report that it wasn't Microsoft who initiated the end of the relationship, but the CEA itself. According to the article (via a source) "Microsoft didn't pull out of the keynote — they were kicked out."
Exciting stuff, one would think. However, we've spoken with sources of our own close to the matter, and it seems that the less exciting story is actually the most accurate one. Apparently last year the CEA requested that Microsoft sign on for another three-year deal for keynoting and presenting at CES. We're told that Microsoft declined that offer and accepted only a single year deal (covering 2012) — which would indicate a lead-up to the more comprehensive move the company announced today.
Our source did indicate that the CEA was interested in playing the field for the lead keynote address, and that Microsoft would ultimately have had to pony up more cash for the privilege of holding onto its spot (everybody at the show, even Microsoft, pays to exhibit and participate). As we were made to understand it, Microsoft simply didn't feel it was getting a reasonable return on its investment with CES, and the reality is that the show hadn't aligned with its launches for a few years.
The decision apparently was made in a truly amicable fashion, with neither side seemingly getting what it needed out of the relationship... which doesn't make for a very entertaining story.
More from The Washington Post
FCC approves AT&T purchase of Qualcomm airwaves
Microsoft’s big push into cloud computing
Welcome to Facebook’s new ‘cool space’