Although I have not heard the number yet from CES which I think is holding a Press Conference right now, a major vendor gave me this number which is consistent with the many reports suggesting a significant scale back by many of the companies here at CES. Although presumably the conference budgeting was already done long before the global economic meltdown it seems likely many have tried to scale back by sending fewer staff, sponsoring fewer parties etc. That said I have not noticed a difference myself in terms of people or coverage – the press seems out in full force here at CES.
Although Alibaba is showing here I’m getting the distinct idea that web companies are very much out of CES – I’d guess for several years as the online economy shakes out, killing the weak while the strong struggle to survive amidst dramatically declining advertising revenues.
One conspicuously absent company is Yahoo which last year had a major display tent in the LVCC parking area and where Jerry Yang delivered a (very lackluster) introduction to what Yahoo was up to in 2009. Not much was my conclusion after that talk. In fact in my interview with Yahoo Co-Founder David Filo he almost insisted they did not want to be purchased my Microsoft and he certainly was being truthful (though probably not very wise), it was soon after CES that Microsoft offered Yahoo 31+ per share in a buyout offer many felt was a no-brainer at the time. It now appears Microsoft will scoop up Yahoo Search and perhaps the whole show anyway, probably for far less than their original offers of 2008.
Disclosure: Long on Yahoo