Steve Balmer, the chief executive officer of Microsoft, gave the company’s final keynote
address at the Consumer Electronics Show this week, after Microsoft announced last year that it would no longer participate in the show currently running in Las Vegas.
Balmer addressed the 3000 strong audience in the Venetian hotel in a casual interview format presentation that was moderated by Ryan Seacrest
, the long running host of American Idol. Not surprisingly, Balmer focused particularly on Microsoft products that are forthcoming this year.
“Windows, Windows, Windows!”
Presented by Tami Reller, Microsoft's chief marketing officer for Windows, Windows 8
was asserted as being a “new way of thinking about one’s PC” rather than just the “next version of Windows”.
To our mind, as interesting as Windows 8 does look, selling it to customers who have finally become comfortable with Windows 7, after the debacle that was Windows Vista, may well be the true test of the new OS’s appeal.
Reller emphasized that Windows 8
was designed to work with touch or a mouse and keyboard, making “everything one needs” accessible irrespective of how large or small one’s screen is.
Balmer also enthused about the company’s new Metro user interface (UI), which seems destined to probably become the de facto interface on Windows PC’s and tablets as well as the Redmond-based company’s Xbox 360 console moving forward.
Steve Balmer gives Microsoft's last keynote address in an interview format at
the Consumer Electronics Show.
Highlights and let downs
One interesting announcement was news that Kinect
would be making its way to Windows PCs next month. This, according to Balmer, would have a number of applications in entertainment as well as other fields, such as healthcare.
Nokia was also commended for its new Lumia 710 phones
, which run off Windows Phone, while the company’s $8.5 billion acquisition
of Skype was similarly mentioned, with Balmer noting that Skype had a substantial 200 million user base.
Adding a bit of spectacle to the proceedings was a choir that sang live tweets about the presentation.
However, the keynote was apparently not without its low points
. The lack
of significant announcements was the main criticism
of Balmer’s last address, which disappointingly included no mention on the Xbox 720, along with the failure of a Windows Phone 7 voice-to-text SMS demo.
To the point
For those waiting for some staggering announcement that would set the internet alight, Microsoft’s last keynote may have been less than was hoped for. Of course, the company could always be saving that for one of those dedicated events that compelled it to no longer participate in CES.