CES growing too big for Vegas: but will it come to UK?

Despite the ongoing economic cataclysm, CES is expanding so fast that it’s in danger of running out of room in its Las Vegas home, according to the show’s organisers.

CES growing too big for Vegas: but will it come to UK?

This year’s CES has more than 3,100 exhibitors using 1.8 million square feet of show floor, with more than 140,000 visitors expected at the trade show in the coming days.

We are certainly open to shows around the world

The show is expanding at such a rate, that the president of the Consumer Electronics Association admitted it’s in danger of running out of space. “One of the challenges we have for 2013 is we don’t have the physical expansion available to us,” said Gary Shapiro.

The show is already spread across three sites in Las Vegas: the enormous Las Vegas Convention Center, the Venetian hotel and the Las Vegas Hilton. That’s not including the off-site meetings hosted by manufacturers such as HP, Asus and Sony.

Given that it’s running out of room in its US homeland, and that CES came to London late last year with a small-scale version of its “Unveiled” showcase, we asked Shapiro if there were any plans for a European version of the show?

“We are certainly open to shows around the world,” Shapiro replied, adding that the CEA already runs an annual show in China. “We’re not rushing to do it,” he added, although he said that there may be further Unveiled events in cities around the world.

There is no question of CES leaving Las Vegas for a bigger venue, with Shapiro adding that it has more hotel rooms and convention space than any city in the world.

Farewell to Microsoft?

Despite its burgeoning success, CES was dealt a blow on the eve of the show when Microsoft announced it would no longer be delivering the opening night keynote speech, a slot it’s held for more than a decade.

Shapiro played down rumours of a rift with Microsoft, but suggested the decision wasn’t entirely in the hands of the software giant. “Microsoft will not be keynoting next year – that’s the only thing that’s certain,” Shapiro said, leaving the door open for the company to continue to exhibit.

“It was the only company that had a very prestigious keynote slot here [every year] and we both agreed that would not be the case going forward,” Shapiro added.

The CEA chief refused to be drawn on who might replace Microsoft for the curtain raiser, claiming that “we have been contacted by many companies who want their CEO to speak”.

Intel’s Paul Otellini, Google’s Eric Schmidt and Ford’s Alan Mulally are all speaking at CES this week and among the contenders to replace Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer.

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