Wasn't the last time Microsoft did a CES keynote when Ballmer wore a red sweater, held up a HP tablet (that never came to market) to his chest and tried to demonstrate it by looking at it upside down and poking at the screen like it was going to so something. Meanwhile, all the Windows computers behind him and around him on the stage went blue screen and had to be manually reset one-by-one.
It was only a few months later Steve Jobs declared the era to be Post PC... In a few more months Microsoft will be post-Ballmer. Imagine what the new CEO will have to deal with: (1) Ballmer and Gates on the board of directors. (2) MS just talking on the cell phone purchase under Ballmer's own hand. (3) The entire Microsoft organization under a new structure by Ballmer's own hand. (4) new XBox running second-place in the console wars (and not even branded with the MS name on the cartons). (5) Bing bleeding like a stuck whale. (6) Cash cows, Windows and Office, under pressure for the first time in decades. (7) Surface, redux, not eating up the market and buyers poking at it suspiciously with sticks, like it might came back alive and attack them.
Now, in that context, the new CEO is expected to change anything for the better with Bill and Steve having a good giggle from their position on the board, and thumbing everything down that may diminish Baller's recent massive changes. I give the new puppet CEO a year or so before he's out the door.
I saw a commercial from Microsoft the other day, highlighting the line of products that all run Windows 8, banging on about the Nokia phone with 41MP camera (I think it's 41) etc. and I just didn't have any reaction whatsoever. Even when I switched to Macs in 2005, I still had some reaction to what Microsoft were doing, either intrigue, dislike, or, in the case of Xbox360 being impressed, but in the past couple of years I have literally no reaction to them anymore. To me what they are doing just doesn't seem important at all now. Even the rubbish stuff they do now doesn't make me laugh like the Kin did.
It's not that much of a shock that the sort of person who would go to a consumer electronics expo is the sort of person for whom "customization" is important. These technology die hards are the type of people who want to install new skins on phones and things like that.
However, the vast majority of people couldn't give a shit about the CES. They'll buy products that "just work".