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Microsoft missing as Vegas electronics show launches - but CARS galore !

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By Noel Young | Correspondent

January 7, 2013 | 4 min read

The biggest thing at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show opening today in Las Vegas is the giant hole where Microsoft used to be. That was how one commentator put it

Microsoft misses the big show

in the Boston Globe.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, did not deliver the traditional show-opening keynote speech last night either — the first time in 15 years that a Microsoft CEO was not centre stage..

Hewlett-Packard and Dell, two of the biggest makers of computers that run Microsoft’s Windows software, are also missing at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

But the space has been snapped up by others. The Consumer Electronic Association, which sponsors the conference, said displays will cover 1.87 million square feet, a record.

And CARS, "The most mobile devices of all" - will be there in force. Eight major carmakers will present new products. Toyota and Audi will demonstrate cars that can drive themselves, as they try to keep up with the self-driving technology developed by Google .

"Self-driving cars are on the verge of mainstream acceptance," said the Globe, " such vehicles can already be operated legally in Nevada, Florida, and California."

So what to make of Microsoft's absence? One view is that the show will reflect a technology world in which Microsoft’s dominance in personal computer software seems increasingly irrelevant.

These days, the chief drivers of innovation are mobile devices such as smartphones, tablet computers - and cars.

That is reflected in the choice of Paul Jacobs, chief executive of Qualcomm, a leading maker of the chips that drive the world’s wireless devices, to give the keynote.

“That’s emblematic of the shift to mobility,” said Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates Inc., a technology consulting firm in Wayland. “There is a changing of the guard.”

But others believe says the Globe that CES — "loud, crowded, and saturated with media hype" — isn’t the best venue for rolling out new products or communicating with customers.

“It’s not a great place to make product announcements, because you get lost in all the noise,” said Sarah Rotman Epps, senior analyst for Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass.

Microsoft has said the show’s early January time frame wasn't good for their new-product releases, which often happen in the autumn.

And not being there in the past hasn’t harmed Apple .

Television manufacturers will be pushing ultra-high-definition sets with pictures far sharper than on today’s HDTVs.

LG Electronics, Samsung , and other TV makers are expected to demonstrate their ultra-sharp sets, : costing $17,000 and up.'"Don't expect arush to buy," said the Globe. Hardly any of the content in today’s TV broadcasts and video recordings measures up to the new standard.

There will also be plenty of new smartphones and tablets.Acer and Asustek Computer of Taiwan may unveil tablets priced as low as $99, and smartphone maker Nokia might unveil a tablet computer running Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system.

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