Bill Gates delivered his last Microsoft keynote at the International Consumer Electronics Show yesterday and it was fortunately missing a lot of the goofy geek tech of recent years although the more staid and occasionally self-congratulatory tone has drawn some complaints about lack of Microsoft innovation (, [ 2]). You can catch the replay video online, but here’s a rundown of the new announcements:
NBC Universal and Microsoft will raise the bar for live and on-demand Internet broadcasting through an exclusive agreement where Microsoft and NBC will deliver NBCOlympics.com on MSN, the official U.S. online home of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. … NBCOlympics.com on MSN will be available free and powered by Microsoft Silverlight technology, a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering high-quality video experiences on the Web.
Under the agreement with Disney-ABC Television Group, later this month, all U.S. Xbox LIVE members will begin to have access to select TV shows and movies from the ABC Television Network, ABC Family, ABC News, Disney Channel and Toon Disney as part of an agreement with Disney-ABC Television Group. More than 500 hours of content, in both standard definition and high definition when available, will be offered including hit ABC Television shows “Lost,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Ugly Betty” and “Desperate Housewives.” Past and current ABC shows will be available on demand, with new episodes arriving on the service the day after they air on television.
Under the agreement with MGM, Xbox 360 will offer MGM’s legendary movie library on demand for Xbox 360 including such titles as “Rocky,” “Terminator,” “Legally Blonde,” “Silence of the Lambs” and “Barbershop.” United Artists, an MGM sister company, will also make select films available on demand. …
“Xbox LIVE Marketplace is the destination for high-definition movies, TV shows and music videos,” according to Robbie Bach.
As far as games actually go, (the Xbox 360 is rumored to also be a gaming console), Microsoft claims that “U.S. consumers spent more on the Xbox 360 platform in 2007 than on any other gaming platform.” That can be interpreted in a variety of ways, and of course blithely ignores the bottom line for the notoriously expensive Xbox 360.
That isn’t exactly scintillating since north of 250 million PCs were sold last year and the exercise of downgrade rights by volume purchasers results in even fewer actual Vista machines.
That’s even less scintillating. Despite perennial high hopes Microsoft’s IPTV efforts never seem to get off the ground.