Qualcomm CES keynote just not sexy enough

I acknowledge Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs is trying to deliver a great experience at the CES keynote on Monday, January 7. He should be given credit for that and even some praise for being courageous enough to follow in the footsteps of Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.

I can see that Qualcomm is in overdrive these days drumming up as much hype as they can to get people excited to watch the Jacobs’ keynote live at CES or online. But despite all there efforts it’s just not sexy enough. Microsoft over the past 15 years was able to deliver the sizzle along with the steak during Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer keynotes at CES. They were described as state of the industry-style presentations and kick-started the year in technology.

With all due respect, Jacobs does not have star-power the same as a Gates or a Ballmer. I do not dispute Qualcomm’s role in mobile and Jacobs theme for the keynote is Born Mobile is topical. He will talk about the convergence of mobile and will highlight the company’s Snapdragon technology. Jacobs will also have celebrities and inventors on stage during the keynote plus a performance from the band Maroon 5. It’s all going to help people pass the time for sure but will it get people in this industry excited? Will it get them talking about the future of technology?

Jacobs will have a lot of pressure on his shoulders with this keynote. It’s a tough act following Gates and Ballmer, but if there is blame to be laid here it has to go to Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) President and CEO Gary Shapiro who puts on this extravaganza each year in Las Vegas. The keynote spot is coveted in the industry but it costs a lot of cash to be on that stage. In this time of fiscal restraint Microsoft took a pass this year. And, Microsoft has a lot to talk about in 2013 because it will be an historic year for them in terms of new product releases. Shapiro has indicated they may return for 2014. I think Shapiro and the CES leadership should have been choosier here and not just sold the keynote spot to the highest bidder. What they should have done was offer Microsoft the spot for free given their commitment level to CES over a decade and half. Keep in mind that attendees are what make this show significant. Without them you don’t have a show.

Sony, Samsung and Lenovo would have been more interesting as they have products to showcase. Shapiro and company could have thought outside the box and invitedRIM CEO Thorsten Heins to the main stage to show off what Blackberry 10 and other mobility devices can do for people. Having RIM on stage would have created more buzz than Qualcomm.

CDN will provide full coverage for Jacobs keynote along with the rest of the CES show.

Two quick hits before I go. Former Ingram Micro Canada executive Brent McCarty has been promoted to run Ingram UK and Ireland. McCarty is a friend of CDN and we wish him the very best over there.

Replacing McCarty as Ingram’s CE chief is Tom Bamrick who was running global sales and the east campus area for the distributor.

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