Microsoft reportedly plans to return to CES in 2014

After abandoning the tech conference this year, the software giant is "officially back," the CES governing group tells the BBC.

Although not making a Consumer Electronics Show keynote of his own last year, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer showed off some Windows devices during Qualcomm's keynote at 2013 CES. James Martin/CNET

Microsoft plans to return to the Consumer Electronics Show in 2014 after taking a year off, the BBC reports.

The software giant, which had been a mainstay attraction at the Las Vegas tech conference, announced in December 2011 that the 2012 CES would be its last as opening keynote presenter and a floor exhibitor. The company noted that the show's January timing didn't align with its needs.

Although Microsoft is not scheduled to resume its formerly customary role of delivering the keynote address, the software giant has booked meeting rooms again, the BBC reports.

"Microsoft is officially back in the International CES," Gary Shapiro, chief of the Consumer Electronics Association, the body that runs the conference, told the BBC. "They are taking out significant space in meeting rooms -- it's actually a larger presence than I believe they have ever had."

CNET has contacted Microsoft and the CEA for comment and additional information and will update this report when we learn more.

Microsoft's departure announcement was seen as a reflection of the decentralization of tech press briefings, with companies increasingly using their own events to make major product announcements to avoid getting drowned out by the myriad companies at CES. The news that Microsoft was on its way out of the show led to speculation that CES had lost its relevance and that the departure would lead other companies to follow suit.

However, the software giant wasn't totally absent from the conference this year; Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made a cameo appearance during Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs' keynote address, talking up Microsoft's Windows RT and Windows 8 Phone products.

 

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