This will be Microsoft's last year of high-profile appearances at CES in Las Vegas, according to a post on The Official Microsoft Blog. The company has traditionally been at the helm of the show's press events, with Bill Gates—and then his successor Steve Ballmer—delivering the kick-off keynote for almost two decades.
The blog post, written by Microsoft vice president of corporate communications Frank X. Shaw, explains that the company's announcement schedule does not fall in line with the annual show, which will take place from January 10th to January 13th, 2012.
Shaw says Microsoft "will continue to participate in CES as a great place to connect with partners and customers across the PC, phone and entertainment industries, but we won’t have a keynote or booth after this year." The post also mentions the company's recent developments, including updates on the Windows Phone front, as factors in deciding to transition away from its roll at CES now.
CEO Steve Ballmer is slated to give the keynote this year. We'll have to sit tight to see what's in store; we wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft exited the CES limelight with a bang.
Update: According to Engadget, Msoft's final keynote will be on the tame side, with Ballmer focusing on two tried-and-true topics: Windows Phone and Xbox.