The New York Times weighed in this morning on the state of CES.
This year, attendance is expected at 140,000 attendees which represents a decline of about 9,000 from last year. In addition, this year will be the last year that Microsoft attends as an exhibitor.
The NYT questions the relevancy of CES as larger players shift from a centralized trade show to individual events that are focused solely on their own products (following the playbook of Apple, and now Amazon).
It certainly makes sense for larger manufacturers to forego CES because of attendance costs, competition for press coverage, misaligned product release schedules and the growing decline in reliance on retailers for product sales (as big brands sell direct), however CES still represents a significant gathering place for all segments of the industry to collide and work on programs, strategies and initiatives for the coming year.This reflects the changing nature of the technology industry — particularly the fact that the most important developments in the electronics business are no longer coming from the makers of television sets and stereos that have been most closely identified with the show since it started in 1967.