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REDMOND, Wash. - The Consumer Electronics Show kicks off Monday in Las Vegas with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer scheduled to give the keynote address. However, this will be Microsoft's last year to play such a key role.

We have decided that this coming January will be our last keynote presentation and booth at the Consumer Electronics Show... because our product milestones generally don't align with the show's January timing, wrote Frank Shaw, the Vice President of Corporate Communications, on Microsoft's official blog.

Microsoft will instead look for new ways to tell consumers about upcoming products and events.

Todd Bishop of GeekWire said there is nothing like seeing technology first-hand and meeting with industry professionals face-to-face. However, Bishop said companies are finding their own ways to do that without big events.

Microsoft's decision reflects a situation facing many large industry conferences these days. Companies have so many ways of connecting with their customers and partners -- from Twitter to webcasts to Skype -- that big events like CES will struggle to keep the big industry players engaged, said Bishop.

The Consumer Electronics Association puts on the international Consumer Electronics Show.

It is a little bittersweet for us. We have enjoyed having Microsoft as part of the show for the last several years, but we know their participation in the show in 2013 will be robust, said CEA spokesperson Jason Oxman.

Oxman said Microsoft will continue to send employees to the show.

Microsoft has enjoyed a close to 20-year working relationship with the Consumer Electronics Association - and we look forward to working with CEA for many years to come, wrote Shaw.

20,000 products will be on display at this year's show in a space big enough to fit 31 football fields.

Ballmer's address happens at 6:30 p.m. Learn how to watch it by clicking here.

The show runs through Friday.

Check out our slide show of some of the items on display.

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