Updated: We've added a ton of photos to the liveblog, after the break. Don't forget - there's real live shots of the all new Blackjack II in red inside!

We're waiting for Steve Ballmer's keynote to start. We're expecting him to announce some server-side services for Windows Mobile to compete with the Blackberry Enterprise Server stuff - device management and whatnot. But you never know - this is, after all, a conference dedicated to “Wireless IT” and “Entertainment.” Dieter wants Slingbox capability built into Windows Media Center - but that's shooting the moon.

In any case, click through and get ready to hit that refresh button. We're starting up in 10.

(all photos by Joel Martin)

We're starting in 5. The Tilt failed us for DUN for some reason, so we're stuck updating over Internet Sharing on a Touch. Oh EDGE, how I hate thee.

I don't know who thought these pre-event commercials were a good idea, but when your “texting” commercial makes me think of a Mattress Warehouse commercial, that's not a big help to your company.

You can tell we're starting because they're shining a bright, white spotlight into the crowd and playing some song with deep bass. So much for saving my vision and hearing. Here comes Steve Largent, President and CEO of CTIA.

We're at the “largest data event” in the world. New keynote format this year - just one speaker per day. That's a nice change, it got a little schizophrenic before. About to list some stats from CTIA's wireless survey. Let's see:

  • Subscriber count: as of June 30th, 243 million wireless subscribers in the US. About 81% of the population.
  • text messages, about 1 Billion per day in the US. That's a lot, baby. 28.8 were send in 2007.
  • the full survey is at http://CTIA.org

...and now the Ballmer intro.

- that's new, ain't it?

9:35 Ballmer's on stage! He's looking sharp. Plans on talking about “trends” in an “increasingly mobile” world and the change from “software” to “software services.” Code for: We still want to take on Google, eh?

How have things changed in 6 years? 6 years is an eternity in the mobile space. He's showing off the Sprint Touch - retail on November 4th (we knew that). It's a “crossover” device that's good for business and also TV, video, etc. Small, lightweight, and sexy form factor. You damn skippy, Ballmer.

Talking about how WiFi was just getting popular 6 years ago, but now we got ourselves 3G and WiFi isn't as important.

User expectations have changed, too. Thin vs. Thick clients in PCs

Top, most-desired item in every emerging market: smartphones. Yep. 6 years ago, Microsoft had ONE phone, ONE model, on ONE model, in ONE country. Today: 160 models, 140 form factors, 20 million WM will be sold this year. Don't forget that when you next hear iPhone sales numbers, folks, 20 million WM phones.

Microsoft's improvement over the past 6 years - they're getting interested in cellular networks and providing services over that. Models of computing:

  • desktop computing (thick clients)
  • enterprise
  • online (services in the cloud, talking to thin clients)
  • devices. (Pictures of WM devices, Zune, XBOX 360)

Devices are #1 on Microsoft's innovation agenda. Yesterday's idea: having all these models separate, having multiple email, text, phone accounts. Will advertising work with devices the way it does with online? Maybe not so much - there needs to be a more sophisticated meld of business models (am I stretching too much to read Google digs in all these).

Mobile phones are the most popular device out there, period. How to we get it to “fully participate” in the same experiences you can get in the other computing models? That's Microsoft's target. Enterprise brought to the phone.

Oh, there's a picture of a Blackjack up there, it's red? It has a few different buttons - looks like a Blackjack II to me.

“In many countries, the phone will be the PC, for people with less money.” Talking about a “docking station” to turn your phone into a PC. Basically he's talking about opportunities for growth in the mobile space. “Think of it like a universal remote” for your business and personal phone. The phone needs to be able to cover both sides of your life.

Making fun of people who carry multiple devices, well, not mocking so much. “It strikes me as odd.” Pushing multiple form factors to meet multiple tastes. Yet despite that, the basic services and things you want to do are often the same from person to person. In other words - he's fond of the Windows Mobile busines model of licensing the OS to partners who innovate on form factors.

“Microsoft has a fairly expansive view of the mobile space.” Focused on partnership with operators, developers.

Work, Life, Platform: the themes for today.


Security management, deployment, applications, communication, IT integration. Listing through th myriad of types of communications and applications necessary in enterprise computing. Need to offer tools to IT departments to manage all that. See's a “clash” coming - IT needs to manage some things, but end users want to control the devices they're using (especially in their personal life). Need to balance IT's need to manage with personal users' need to customize.


Microsoft System Center, Mobile Device Manager 2008. Helps IT manage, secure, and provide secure access for smartphones. Will work with “forthcoming versions of WM devices.” Versions coming in Q2 next year to support this service. It will manage the phone like it would manage “mission critical data” on a PC. What can it do? Provisioning, data encryption, password requirements, data compliance, mobile VPN management. They're trying to make it standards-compliant, too. The idea is to bring devices (from the 4 above) closer to enterprise. Brian Hoskins up for a demo! 9:56: Demo

Setting up a new device, in case you lose yours. “Self enrollment website” You can create an “enrollment request” yourself - anybody who can log into active directory can request to set up a new device.

You get the password from the site, punch it into your new phone, and it automagically enrolls into your management system. Sets up policies, password settings, the whole shebang. Fast, easy, cool.

Showing stuff on server side now. Device status, device history, blocked devices, pending enrollment, recently wiped devices. Ha - Steve Ballmer has had his wiped a buncha times for this demo.

Pre-configure applications - create “software packages” with a wizard. Set up, choose which specific device groups in your company you want to send it out to. You can set it up as mandatory or optional. Fully Over the Air distribution. Cool.

Security policies. Exact same security management system that companies use to manage security policies on PCs, but now it applies to WM smartphones. Force password policies, strong password policies. Enable encryption OTA too. 100 policies you can manage out of the box, you can also create your own security policies too.

Mobile VPN Demoing doing an expense report over a secure VPN. Aw, Bob bought a bottle ov Cristal Champagne to celebrate and Ballmer is going to reject it. :(

New Blackjack 2

Ready to run out of the box with Mobile Device Manager. It is red, but no new deets yet. We got the picture, no worries. :) It looks nearly identical to the current Blackjack.

AT&T is a launch partner for Mobile Device Manager. Other partners: HTC, Palm, Motorola, Sprint, i-mate, HP, ...all the big guns.


Switching to talking about how WM needs to fit your lifestyle. Surprising how much people care about the aesthics of the phone (really? surprising?).

Windows Live Search (with voice). Windows Live Mail (Hotmail), Live messenger. Office Mobile (?). Media Player. Games - bringing PC games and XBOX games “in an appropriate form” to these devices.

Derek Snyder coming up.


Putting up the s630 from HTC (update to the Dash). Showing smartfilter to pull up contacts quickly. Showing the same in Outlook email. Showing it's HTML rendering. Now showing Windows Media Player mobille. Now showing the Sprint Touch as a way to show Windows Live Services. Windows Live Messenger - you can send voice clips easily, that's pretty snappy. Sharing photos, integration with Windows Live Spaces, “Send to my space” with one click.

Talking about Media Center on the PC. Oooh ooh? Uses “webguide” to emulate his Media Center experience through PocketIE. View his guide, set recording for different shows, and so on. Sigh - someday we'll get sling.

Now showing the AT&T Tilt. Shows new Windows Live Search for mobile. This saddens me, as I'm pretty sure WLS was freezing my Tilt yesterday - or perhaps a rough interaction between WLS and SPB Mobile Shell. Moving on - he's showing the voice search that's built into WLS. http://wls.live.com. It got “The double-u hotel” and got that it was “W Hotel San Francisco.” It's really slick. Movie showtimes based on location.

Whoops! The Tilt froze! BANG! I told you!

Back to Ballmer. Showing different development platforms, mentions Silverlight. Visual Studio 2005.

Windows Mobile as a platform. Wrapping up.

Q & A with Steve Largent.

How will Microsoft partner and how does that compare?
The best way to get software in hundreds of millions of devices is broad innovation and to work with lots of people.

What about the spectrum auction?
Nope. Man, even when everybody's laughing about “the competition,” they won't mention Google. Some maroon just clapped when Steve said that “Google has a core competence in a certain area” or something like that. Ballmer's response? “Thanks, Dad.” Love it. Just have to wait and see what competitors have in store. Microsoft's goal is to be an enabler of 3rd parties, unlike, say, oh, you know, Apple and RIM.

Mobile Advertising?
Great revenue source for everybody. How to split the pie is a difficult problem. Big opportunity.

You're good in Enterprise, not so hot in consumer (except XBOX). How will you change that?
We're willing to switch things up. Apple's never made a move in enterprise. IBM's never gone for home. We're trying both. We're persistent, we keep coming and coming and working and coming and coming. Count on us to continue to stay after it.

How important is Windows Mobile?
Important financially - hundreds of millions of potential devices, a big market. Also - need to serve customer's desires and so we can't ignore the mobile area.

Seahawks in the playoffs?
Absolutely, positively, 100%

We're Done!