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.
A large portion of the discussion on Windows Phone was shifted to Derek Snyder, Microsoft's Product Manager. Snyder presented a thorough overview of the Windows Phone experience and how it put people first.
Looking forward, Ballmer is clearly excited about moving forward with 4G LTE technology and the new partnership with Nokia. He took the opportunity to spotlight the upcoming Nokia Lumia 900 and HTC Titan II that is heading to AT&T.
The conversation with Seacrest quickly shifted to Windows PC and the future of that operating system. Windows 8 is going to give customers the power and mobility to move between what they want to do and what they need to do. The new system incorporates heavily the metro system we all have become familiar with our Windows Phone. Windows 8 is designed to be interactive by touch, the mouse or keyboard. In watching the demo, you couldn't help but think it's your Windows Phone on your PC or tablet. It even has a Windows Store which will open in late February and available in over 200 markets. Probably the best news about Windows 8 is that PC's running Windows 7 is capable of running Windows 8.
A Microsoft conversation would be incomplete without mentioning Xbox 360 and Kinect. With over 40 million Xbox Live subscribers and 18 million Kinect units shipped, the Xbox platform has transitioned from a gaming platform to an entertainment platform. With the latest update in December that brings the Metro interface to the Xbox console and Kinects voice interface, users can scan through games, television, movies and contacts with ease. Microsoft is moving to make the Xbox console your all-in-one entertainment device. Additionally, Ballmer announced that the Kinect will be coming to the PC on February 1, 2012.
All in all, the presentation was a combination of reflecting on the past and looking forward to the future. It is clear that the Metro design will play a large role in things to make interfacing with the three screens as user friendly and efficient as possible.
As Ballmer mentioned, "Metro will drive the new magic over all of Microsoft's experiences." When asked what's next? Ballmer replied simply,
"Metro, Metro, Metro. Windows, Windows, Windows."
It is clear that Steve Ballmer sees the future of Windows Phones, Windows 8, Xbox and Microsoft being bright and he won't get much of an argument from us.