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Ballmer Keynote

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Microsoft is soon to seal the deal and acquire Nokia's hardware division, which will include Lumia, Asha and X family of mobile devices. During today's keynote, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop focused fairly heavily on Microsoft and its services. Skype, OneDrive, Outlook, Skype, OneDrive – you get the idea. But just how many times did Elop and co. talk about Microsoft during the presentation?

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This morning Nokia announced 4 new devices to their handset line-up, 2 Asha devices, and 2 Windows Phone devices.

Nokia’s sights did not seem set on the US market though, where the carriers heavily subsidize even higher end devices to bring them into consumer’s hands. Instead we saw indications that Nokia is continuing to drive into markets where upfront cost is everything. Stephen Elop was also clear that Nokia are pushing aggressively into the enterprise market, highlighting Windows Phone's integration with Microsoft Office services as well as the full device encryption available on every handset.

There’s no arguing against the fact that the two Asha phones, selling at less than the price of your average video game or dinner for two, will sell in their target markets. So we’ll focus on the Lumia 720 and the Lumia 520.

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One of Mobile World Congress's keynote speeches just wrapped up and this one featured three different speakers: Dennis Crowley, founder and CEO of Foursquare, CEO of HTC Peter Chou and CEO of Nokia, Stephen Elop. The topic was simple: Mobile OS & Applications, specifically what challenges each CEO is facing and how the mobile OS can transform technology.

Each CEO gave their take on what they do and what they are doing for the future. Crowley is concerned with data aggregation on Foursquare and how to "give that back" to the customer in a useful manner. Chou was interested in the infinite possibilities of smartphones but more importantly how to smartly managed that e.g. HTC Sense. Finally Nokia's Elop focused on three areas:

  1. Ecosystems including big apps versus local apps, with the latter being Nokia's concern. This can be seen in things like App Highlights on their phones.
  2. Location-based services e.g. filling in the "Where? equation" on smartphones. We see this demonstrated with their Drive, Maps and Transport apps
  3. How to monetize this ecosystem for the smaller developers in emerging markets

Elop's discussion was frankly much more interesting as he was laying out, in no uncertain terms, what Nokia's plans were. They see growth in the untapped emerging markets, where 60% of cell phone users do not have a smartphone yet. He reiterated once again how he thought Nokia could be a "disruptive force" in the industry with Windows Phone (versus iOS or Android) and that Nokia had a great symmetry with Microsoft in regards to software/hardware design.

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Microsoft took the opportunity to reflect on its accomplishments and give us a peak at what's in store for the future in this year's CES Keynote Address. CEO Steve Ballmer took center stage to deliver a "State of the Union" type presentation for the software giant.  After 14 years of delivering a keynote address at the International Consumer Electronics Show, this would be Microsoft's last.  At least for a while.

Presented in conversation form with Ryan Seacrest moderating, Ballmer began the conversation on Windows Phone. Naturally, he was pleased with the success Windows Phone has had and felt it is the first phone to put people first. It provides a consolidated glance at what's important in your life.

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Just a quick reminder that Microsoft will be delivering its 2012 CES Keynote speech in just a little while. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is expected to take the stage around 6:30pm PST and deliver the last CES Keynote for Microsoft. If you remember, Microsoft announced some time ago that it was bowing out on delivering the Keynote address. Instead, they will turn to special events for announcements and let their industry partners take the lead at future CES events.

You can catch Microsoft's Keynote Speech here and check back for our thoughts and follow-up on the presentation.

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2012 CES Keynote, the last for Microsoft

The 2012 Consumer Electronics Show is just right around the corner and Microsoft is scheduled to give the keynote address on Monday, January 9, 2012 which will mark the last keynote Microsoft at CES.

Microsoft recognizes that their industry is fast moving and the manner in which they communicate with consumers must keep pace. Frank X. Shaw, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President over Corporate Communications states,

"We have decided that this coming January will be our last keynote presentation and booth at CES. We’ll continue to participate in CES as a great place to connect with partners and customers across the PC, phone and entertainment industries, but we won’t have a keynote or booth after this year because our product news milestones generally don’t align with the show’s January timing."

Microsoft will now turn to special events to share new products, services and innovations with consumers such as the Big Windows Phone event that was held in New York, through social networking resources and their retail stores. Microsoft won't disappear completely from CES with their partners likely taking the lead in making product announcements at future CES events.  While the approach makes sense, it's going to be strange not to have Ballmer take center stage at CES.

Oh and speaking of the 2012 CES Keynote, as we understand things Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will focus on Windows Phones and the XBox this year. Don't expect significant news but more of a wrap up on the past year. Microsoft may be taking a step back and let Nokia's Operation Rolling Thunder take center stage.

Source: Microsoft Blog

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Did you miss out on viewing the MIX11 Keynote presentations over the past two days? Don't worry, MIX11 has the videos of both keynote presentations available from their website.

Microsoft's Dean Hachamovitch led the way with the Day 1 Keynote that concentrated on Microsoft's IE9 and IE10 development. The Day 2 Keynote featured Joe Belfiore and focused on Windows Phone development (check out our wrap-up for all the details).  The amount of information presented in Belfiore's keynote was impressive and the future of Windows Phone 7 looks promising.

In addition to the Keynote videos, Channel 9 Live is also offering coverage from other MIX11 presentations and sessions.  The information ranges from presentations on Windows Phone developer's tools to multi-tasking in Mango.

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Skype heading to Windows Phone 7

Skype, the popular internet messaging service, is heading to Windows Phone 7. Joe Belfiore, Microsoft's VP of Windows Phone Program Management, provided an early glimpse at the communications app during today's MIX11 keynote.

Skype will definitely enhance the communications capabilities of our Windows Phones. Now we just need a front facing camera to take advantage of Skype's video features. While no specific date was mentioned, we should see Skype landing in the Marketplace later this Fall.

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Wrap-up on today's MIX11 keynote

Today was a superb day for both the Windows Phone 7 platform and the development community behind the 13,000 Marketplace apps. Luckily we were at the front (literally) of the action in Las Vegas and laying our hawk eyes on the live stream to bring you the best coverage of the keynote from a variety of angles. Not only were we live blogging the entire session, we are also bringing you the latest bulletins covering the Angry Birds release date, IMDb working with Bing, Kik Messenger coming to WP7 and more.

Follow the break for a snappy list breaking down the important topics covered in the keynote along with an in-depth summary.

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Las Vegas, April 13th...

Microsoft today showed off the next version of Windows Phone, coming this fall, called 'Mango' as well as announced new developer tools what will give devs a chance to go deeper with the phone.

The improved dev tools include "a performance profiler and sensor stimulation, enabling developers to build more intergrated and high-performing applications". In addition, devs get:

  • Application multitasking for background processing,, audio and file transfer, and fast app switching
  • Deeper phone intergration so apps can, for example, take better advantage of the versatility of Live Tiles
  • Access to the camera and Motion Sensor library so devs can build apps that incorporate device hardware and build augmented reality experiences
  • All of these new tools will be available starting in May. 

In addition, Microsoft showed of the next version of Windows Phone called 'Mango' including new apps such as Skype (!), Spotify, Layar, Quantas, Amazon Shopping and Kik Messenger

So there you go folks. Expect more throughout the day, including videos and more info. But darn it all, Microsoft is listening and look to be delivering. Shout out in comments on your thoughts!

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Ballmer Keynote