Ina Fried

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Microsoft Beefing Up CeBit Presence Even as It Pulls Back on CES

This may be Microsoft’s last year with a keynote and booth at the Consumer Electronics Show, but the company is actually stepping up its investment in the biggest European technology show.

Microsoft is planning an even bigger presence than last year at CeBit, the big trade show held in March in Hanover, Germany. Speaking at a CeBit event in Las Vegas, Microsoft vice president Achim Berg (a German former Deutsche Telekom executive) said that the event provides a good place to reach key customers.

At CeBit, Berg said, Microsoft is able to meet with 10,000 chief information officer-types in just a few days, getting a lot of business done.

And, unlike Vegas, Berg said he doesn’t have to spend two or three hours a day in cabs.

“There is no need to wait for taxis,” Berg said at the event (where I also spoke about mobile security issues). “This is a well-organized German fair.”

Though glad to see Microsoft’s continued investment, CeBit officials said they can relate to the pain the Consumer Electronics Show is having in losing a big name. A few years ago, CeBit lost both Nokia and Hewlett-Packard as big exhibitors. And while the show is bigger than it was a couple of years ago, it is down from where it was five years ago.

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Nobody was excited about paying top dollar for a movie about WikiLeaks. A film about the origins of Pets.com would have done better.

— Gitesh Pandya of BoxOfficeGuru.com comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”