"I would be shocked if a Microsoft leader did not return to this stage again in the next few years," Consumer Electronics Association CEO Gary Shapiro said before introducing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for what Microsoft claims will be its final CES keynote address.
In announcing in December that Microsoft was pulling out of future CES involvement, the company seemingly left little room for doubt.
"We have decided that this coming January will be our last keynote presentation and booth at CES," Microsoft head of communications Frank Shaw said.
But Shapiro called the 2013 absence merely a "pause," British tech news site The Register reported Tuesday.
"For 14 great years," Shapiro said, "Bill [Gates] and his successor at Microsoft, CEO Steve Ballmer, have taken to the stage to tell the world about Microsoft's next great innovations."
Both entities gained from the relationship, he said.
"Microsoft's keynotes drove press and international attendance to this show," he said. "Microsoft took a risk on us early, and we both benefited."
That relationship is now on hold.
"As much as our human inclination is to preserve the status quo," Shapiro said, Microsoft and CES have "agreed to a pause."