Microsoft delivers its final CES Keynote

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.

George Ponder

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

  • And what a waste of time it was :/  Guess that's to be expected; no one wants to work on their last day.
  • No kidding. A snoozefest.
  • It's sad that their only interesting announcement at CES had to do with Sesame Street.... I was expecting, at least. . .something!?
  • Well that was bollocks.
    They didn't even show the Xbox Companion app.
    I stayed up all night just to see Ballmer go mental.
  • yeah i know what you guys are all saying but thats cause we already know about all these features. to those that don't know it was all "wow check that out". there's a news site here in Australia that don't know much about WP7 and even Xbox all though it is big here already but they saw the wow factor in those demos cause they don't use them and so hopefully now they'll at least give it all a go.
  • Its safe to say if you're not on AT&T in the US you're not going to get any decent wp7 devices. I'm going to make the jump over 
  • It took the iPhone like 3 years to jump the exclusive ship?  AT&T is good at dropping the cash to get exclusivity...  I don't think WP7 is going to try to turn itself into completely exclusive but to get the highest features on the cutting edge it appears AT&T is truely the place to be...(Just like for the best Android has your best bet is Verizon)
  • The tweet singers OMG what was that all about. it was ...lame.
  • And WTF was going on with Microsoft's Tami Reller? She looked a bit disheveled and on overdrive. I thought she was going to collapse. Probably hadn't slept in 72 hours or something.
  • Yes and her voice was grating.
  • Somebody in the audience must have started the slow clap.