Microsoft complained to the show organizers, Hannover Messe AG, that Sony was breaching show rules by letting people play on Sony PlayStation 2 consoles. Technically, Microsoft was right, and the Messe was forced to act on the complaint.
Sony approached Microsoft to find a compromise and entered into protracted discussions with the Messe for a deal acceptable for all parties. But none could be found, and on Sunday morning Sony started packing up its 27 PS2s. Theofficially finishes on Wednesday.
Microsoft representatives denied that the company had complained to the Messe. But the show organizers confirmed that Richard Roy, vice president, corporate strategy, had complained.
Sony has shown PlayStation consoles for the past three years without any problem, and the Messe said it would not have worried about the situation if Microsoft had not complained.
Microsoft showed its Xbox game console on its stand at the show, with employees demonstrating.
Steve Homer is a special correspondent to ZDNet U.K. in London. Bernd Steinbrink of CeBit News contributed to this report.