CES Rumor Report: HP Eyes Tablet Market Again, Best Buy Eyes Bankruptcy?

Posted by · January 9, 2012 12:37 pm

Consumer Electronics Show 2012We’re only half-way into the first official day of CES (well, for the press anyway) and the blogosphere is already buzzing with excitement over new gadgets and gossiping about the  latest rumors circulating around the tradeshow floor.

I spent the morning with a few folks in the know at big-name consumer electronics companies as well as a few of my fellow tech bloggers and got some insider perspectives on what news we could potentially hear from big companies in 2012.  Here’s a rumor wrap-up (names and companies have been omitted to protect the innocent):

  • With Meg Whitman newly minted as HP’s CEO, it seems that anything the company took off the table prior to her coming on board in September of last year is back on the table–including tablets.  According to one source: “There’s no way that HP could be a PC and laptop company without revisiting the tablet market. I think you’ll see more tablets from the company in the near future.”
  • If you ask a few folks at large consumer electronics companies, last week’s article by Larry Downs of Forbes foretelling Best Buy’s impending doom may not have been that far off base.  Though fully admitting that this was conjecture, one executive I spoke with said the company couldn’t be “more than two years from filing bankruptcy.”
  • With Microsoft discontinuing their presence at CES after this year, almost everyone is wondering whether the show will go on.  Sure, Microsoft’s presence alone won’t make or break CES, but more than a few people agreed that at least for big name brands, exhibiting at CES is done out of habit, not necessity.  One source reported that companies like Samsung spend close to $30 million each year on CES alone, yet these companies still hold a number of smaller press events throughout the year.   At least from what I’ve seen so far, that’s $30 million not-so-well-wasted.

Well, that’s all I’ve gotten from the rumor mill so far. I’ll keep my eyes–and ears–peeled to try to bring you a few more nuggets of insider info later this week.  This afternoon I’ll be live blogging from the Samsung and Sony press events and Microsoft keynote.

For CES randomness, follow me on Twitter at @jennprentice and be sure to follow @ExpertsExchange on Twitter for tech news during CES and thereafter!