Microsoft

LIVE BLOG: Steve Ballmer's opening keynote at CES 2009

This was a live blog of Steve Ballmer's CES 2009 keynote at 6:30 PM Pacific on January 7, 2008. It was originally in reverse chronological order, but after the live event I edited it into chronological order so that it's easy to read for everyone coming in after-the-fact.

This was a live blog of Steve Ballmer's CES 2009 keynote at 6:30 PM Pacific on January 7, 2008. It was originally in reverse chronological order, but after the live event I edited it into chronological order so that it's easy to read for everyone coming in after-the-fact.

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6:30: CEA President Gary Shapiro is on stage

6:33: Shapiro said Ballmer got a perfect 800 in the math section of his SAT

6:36: Ballmer: "So this is CES!" ... "It's been a tradition for Microsoft to give the opening keynote."

6:38: He said he got some messages from people just prior to his first CES keynote. Bill Gates said make sure you go to CES and not that other conference in Las Vegas [referring to adult video conference]. He said Jerry Yang contacted him and asked Steve why he keeps ignoring his Facebook friend request (ouch).

6:39: Talking about the economy. He said that there's an expectation of scaling back instead of pushing forward, but he believes the innovations in technology should and will continue unabated.

6:41: Convergence of three screens: PC, phone, and TV. There are still more than 5 billion people in the world who have never used a PC, and about 1 billion that have. He thinks Netbooks and smartphones will help

6:43: Phones are often the first interface for many people. Within a couple years, smartphones will make up 50% of the cell phone market.

6:44: The TV has been at the center of family entertainment for 60 years, and now the boundaries between the TV and the PC

6:45: By bringing together the PC, TV, and the phone along with the cloud, computing experiences will unite. He thinks Windows is the best tool to make it happen, and he said he doesn't just mean the traditional Windows on the PC.

6:46: Now rolling a video showing Windows on a variety of new devices, phones, PCs, and other hardware.

6:50: "Microsoft is transforming what Windows is." It's moving from the PC to the glue that ties together the PC, the TV, the phone, and the Cloud.

6:51: Says there are on track to deliver Windows 7 on time. It will make computing simpler and faster and allow people to move things across devices.

6:53: "Today, I'm excited to announce that we are releasing the Beta of Windows 7." It's available to MSDN and Technet subscribers right now. On Friday they will release it to the public.

6:55: Now he's talking up Windows Live. They have signed a deal with Dell to pre-install it on all consumer and business computers. (How do you pre-install an online application?)

6:58: Steve welcomed Charlotte Jones, product manager, on stage to give a demo of Windows 7.

7:00 Charlotte is showing how Windows 7 basically merges the Taskbar and Quick Launch bar. (I'm not sure if I like this idea. How do you see which apps are active?)

7:02: She's showing how Windows 7 makes it easy to grab music files from another Windows 7 PC in the house, or grab that file and send it to the

7:03: "We built touch into the DNA of Windows, so that our partners can build great touch applications." She showed a nice demo of how touch interface let's you manipulate maps quickly and easily. (Yesterday, ASUS did a similar demo with a Windows 7 version on one of its new laptops.)

7:06: Now she's talking about Windows Live and how they want to use it to aggregate social updates  on the Web on home.live.com. "It brings all your social updates together in one place." Everything she showed is available now.

7:09: A new feature they are adding to Hotmail is Quick Add, where you can look up maps and addresses and then automatically insert them into a message, without having to go to a separate browser tab or window.

7:11: She also showed a feature in Windows Messenger that allows you to do a video clip as your avatar and make emoticons morph a photo of your face into whatever the emoticon does.

7:13: Now showing an "I'm a PC" ad, with the last snippet showing the band Tripod in front the Las Vegas sign. Now Tripod is playing a song - albeit a bad one. (These guys look like Mac users. :-)

7:16: Now Robbie Bach, the leader of the Microsoft's entertainment division, is on stage.

7:19: Robbie said the average session time on Windows Media Center is 90 minutes. Now Microsoft is pushing forward with Mediaroom, Microsoft's IPTV product. AT&T uses it for U-verse, which has been getting some positive reviews lately.

7:21: Bach said they are going to let developers add to Mediaroom with software modules that will bring new experiences to IPTV set top boxes.

7:22: He said that Xbox has more games sold than any of the current gaming consoles. He said they will push console sales even further since they've been able to drive the price down in the $200 range.

7:23: Now Bach is talking about two new Halo games coming in 2009.

7:24: Robbie calls Xbox Live a social network. He said that since they allowed people to create a "virtual you" the activity has increased significantly.

7:26: This year Microsoft will launch "Primetime" on Xbox Live, which will feature live events that users can participate in. The demo game is a trivia game called "1 vs. 100." This one got some nice applause.

7:29: They now have 45 content partners on Xbox, including Netflix. He's showing his Netflix queue and talking about how it provides a great way to stream HD content.

7:31: "Fans want an interactive experience with their music, and they're getting it on Xbox." He's talking up Rock Band and Guitar Hero. He said their partners tell them that 80% of music downloads to consoles are from Xbox.

7:33: Bach said they want to empower their users to make their own games and share them with their friends and distribute them. He brought a 12 year-old named Sparrow on stage and she showed off a game she made with Microsoft's Kodu Game Creator. She's also showing how to change a program the thing and is flying through the interface. They play the game and she beats Bach.

7:39: We're going to connect your friends, your family, your kids, and your experiences.

7:39: Ballmer is back on stage.  "We're on the verge of the kind of technology transformation that only happens about every 10 years." He said Moore's Law has switched from more processing power to more processors and app writers need to write software to take advantage of them. He believes the tech industry will rise to the challenge.

7:40 He said hi-def displays will become cheaper and more portable.

7:42: He invited Janet Galore from Microsoft Research on stage to demonstrate future technology. She showed off a digital textbook that looks like a small LCD panel. It is a touch screen and she's loading anatomy information from text books, the Web, a drawing from friend. She also pulling up information from the members if her study group.

7:47: Now Janet is using the Digital Textbook on a Microsoft Surface tabletop computer and interacting with both Surface and a Windows Mobile phone.

7:48: Janet is now showing a flexible e-ink digital screen (very thin). She said, "This could become the next Surface."

7:49: Ballmer: "Our industry has an incredible opportunity ahead of us."

7:50: Shapiro back on stage as Ballmer walked off and said: "Bill had a very big seater to fill and you have filled it out totally."

About Jason Hiner

Jason Hiner is Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He's co-author of the book, Follow the Geeks.

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