CES Preps for 2013 Convention, Sells Microsoft Space in 45 Minutes

Microsoft made a surprise announcement a couple of weeks ago when it informed the tech world that the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas would be the last one in which the Redmond software giant gives a keynote or rents floor space. The company is pulling out after this year, at least as far as major presence goes, a decision it made based on the fact that CES doesn't align with its own product announcement schedule. Is the show dead? Not exactly.

CNet claims to have heard from "a source close to the conference" that Microsoft's floor space sold in a mere 45 minutes. It was snatched up by a Dish and Chinese electronics maker called Hisense, which reportedly agreed to pay the same amount Microsoft would have dished out had it decided to come back next year.

The floor space that would have belonged to Microsoft next year was sold in just 45 minutes.

There's a ton of preparation that goes into CES, and it takes so much work that the organizers kick off the three-day process of selling floor space right as the current convention is winding down. It won't be known until later this week how many exhibitors plan to attend to CES 2013, though the number for this year climbed above 3,100, up from 2,800 in 2010.

As for who will replace Microsoft in giving the opening keynote next year, that one's still a mystery, though CNet's source said it would be a familiar name "and will generate a lot of excitement." You can bet it won't be Apple, though wouldn't this be a golden opportunity for the Cupertino outfit to swoop in? More likely candidates include Google, Intel, AMD, ARM, and Nvidia.

Who do you think will deliver the 2013 keynote?