Microsoft's CES floor space for 2013 sold in just 45 minutes

Tech giant's former location at the show was sold in an "amazingly quick" 45 minutes on the first day of space selection for next year's show, CNET has learned.

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
Expertise I have more than 30 years' experience in journalism in the heart of the Silicon Valley.
Steven Musil

The Consumer Electronics Show may be able to do just fine without Microsoft.

The software giant's former prime floor location at the tech confab sold during the first day of 2013 space selection in an "amazingly quick" 45 minutes, a source close the conference told CNET. The space was sold to Dish and Chinese electronics maker Hisense for the same price Microsoft would have paid had it opted to attend next year's show, the source said.

Space selection for the 2013 CES, which began today, is a three-day process, so it's unknown how many exhibitors plan to be at next year's conference. More than 3,100 exhibitors are attending this years CES, compared with 2,800 at the 2011 show.

The source declined to say who might deliver the 2013 opening keynote--Microsoft's traditional role at the show--except to say it was a company "that everyone has heard of and will generate a lot of excitement."

Microsoft, which has been a mainstay attraction at the show, announced in December 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 doesn't align with its news milestones.

The announcement led to speculation that CES had lost its relevance, and that Microsoft's departure would lead other companies to follow suit.