CES: Interview with the CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association

People should no longer consider the battle for the living room as a face off between the likes of Microsoft and traditional TV manufacturers said the chief executive of the Consumer Electronics Association.

But Shapiro admitted he was surprised at Bill Gates’ claims over the number of Media Centre PCs sold. Gates claimed in his keynote speech on Wednesday night that 1.4 million units had shipped over the past year, but even Microsoft personnel were privately said to have been surprised by the figures.

The CEA is expecting CES to grow again next year, but Shapiro denied that the demise of Comdex has had a huge affect on the number of visitors to Las Vegas this January. Conventional wisdom suggests more people are visiting CES to fill the void left by the cancellation of Comdex Fall 2004.

‘I don’t think we gained any visitors because Comdex was already dead in terms of the attendees,’ he said. ‘Part of our strategy was to announce that there would only be 120,000 this year because we didn’t want to get all the Comdex tyre kickers.

‘Comdex was a public show, it was a habit for geeks to go there every year. We are not that show, we are a show for trade only. Someone has to have a legitimate business interest to be able to come here.’

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