Steve Ballmer to present 2012 CES keynote

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will return to the stage as the headline speaker at next year’s Consumer Electronics Show.

The presenter of the CES keynote is regarded as a figurehead of the entire consumer electronics industry. Bill Gates was given the honor for several years until he stepped down from his day-to-day Microsoft responsibilities, and since then MS heavyweight Steve Ballmer has become the de facto speaker.

In addition to peddling and hyping whatever the latest Microsoft technology is, the keynote is about defining the CE marketplace and discussing where it’s headed in the next year.

“We are pleased to welcome Microsoft back to the CES keynote stage. From mobile to desktop to gaming and beyond, Microsoft has a significant impact on all aspects of the consumer technology industry, and Steve Ballmer’s keynote is a great way to kick off the exciting 2012 International CES. We are excited to hear Microsoft’s latest initiatives and Ballmer’s vision for where consumer technology is heading,” said Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, which organizes CES.

CES, which is the largest trade show in the world, attracts more than 100,000 people to Las Vegas every year. It’s held at the beginning of January and is where most of the gadgets for the entire upcoming year are revealed.

For 2012, that’s expected to be Windows 8, tablets, and even more 3D content.

Ballmer’s keynote will take plan on January 9 at 6:30 PM Pacific Time (9:30 PM Eastern Time) at the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas.