Microsoft may pull out of CeBIT

Microsoft may not make an appearance at the world's biggest computer fair next spring

The world largest computer exhibition -- CeBIT in Hanover -- could take place next year without the presence of the world's largest software company.

Speaking at a meeting of the Hightech Press Club (HPC) in Hamburg on Wednesday night, Juergen F. Gallmann, managing director of Microsoft Germany, said the company is unlikely to attend.

Gallman said he is considering whether other, smaller events would provide better contact with its customers.

Microsoft had already cut back plans drastically for its presence at Systems 2004 conference in Munich next month.

"Some people have suggested we did this because of the decision by the city of Munich to go with Linux. That is complete nonsense," said Gallman.

All such decisions are based on what works best for Microsoft customers, he said. "Our customers have long been asking us whether these big fairs are the best solution," said Gallman, "but we didn't listen to them." He said Microsoft will make a final decision on CeBIT during October.

Microsoft Germany only achieved single-digit growth in the past year, compared to the double-digit growth experienced by parent company Microsoft Corp.