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January 8, 2007

Not much happening in Gates’ CES07 keynote

Posted by David Hunter at 10:02 AM ET.

CNET UK’s Crave blog sums up Bill Gate’s keynote at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show quite nicely:

The Gates soft-shoe shuffle at CES kicks off the gadget show each year with the same forlorn regularity as a Windows blue screen of death. It’s comforting to watch Bill climb up to the stage, but prepare yourselves, people: this can’t go on for ever. Gates began his remarks by saying that next year’s keynote may well be his last.

This year’s keynote didn’t hold many too many surprises. There was the usual self-satisfied purring about what a long way we’ve all come, baby, in what Gates is now calling “the digital decade”. There was also some quite staggeringly unhip video showing what were supposed to be hip and cool consumers using Microsoft products to have connected experiences.

I always get a laugh out of the “digital future” concept demos they put poor Mr Gates through.  This year even he was laughing at the schtick where he, the world’s richest man, was reading interactive ads at a bus stop and checking out recipes projected on a kitchen counter after setting a forlorn bag of RFID tagged flour on it.

Also, someone please get Robbie Bach a public speaking coach – he seemed like a deer in the headlights. Of course, it is a trifle embarrassing to warmly endorse parental controls for gaming on Vista and then run a montage of games that mostly involved shooting other people.

The main event was news of a new home server as well as some cutesy Media Center PCs in quirky form factors (round and white anyone?). There was also the intriguing news that Microsoft will allow its Xbox 360 games console to act as a link to its Internet Television service, or IPTV.

And that’s about it in a nutshell. Some more details from the general press release and elsewhere:

Update: Paul Thurrott has more details on the Windows Home Server including that it is based on Windows Server 2003 R2 and that the operating system can be purchased without hardware.

Update: A press release and Q&A for Windows Home Server have belatedly arrived. See also this post on the weblog of Microsoft’s Charlie Kindel, a member of the Home Server development team.

Clarification: Ken Fisher at Ars Technica:

One challenge facing Windows Home Server (WHS for short) is that it is an OEM-only product, meaning that you won’t be able to head out and buy WHS at your local retail joint. And much like Media Center in the early days, we don’t expect specialty shops to carry an OEM version of the software anytime soon. This is disappointing news, because the early-adopter segment isn’t particularly interested in paying top dollar for OEM creations when do-it-yourself delivers a better experience. That said, I discussed this briefly with a Microsoft representative who said that Microsoft is aware that there’s a big enthusiast crowd out there, and a retail release of the OS isn’t out of the question.

Filed under Bill Gates, CES07, Conferences, Coopetition, Embedded, Executives, Ford, General Business, HP, Hardware, IPTV, Live Anywhere, Marketing, Media Connect, Microsoft, Microsoft TV, New Form Factors, OS - Client, OS - Server, PC Games, Public Relations, Robbie Bach, Service Providers, Technologies, Windows Automotive, Windows Home Server, Windows Live, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Vista, Xbox

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6 Responses to “Not much happening in Gates’ CES07 keynote”

  1. Sony says PS3 shipments on track -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Just as Microsoft announced at CES that they had met their Xbox 360 ship target, so did Sony for the PS3: The most widely watched report on holiday video game sales is not due until Thursday, but early hints suggest that it may hold a few surprises. [...]

  2. Other Microsoft announcements at CES07 -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Not every Microsoft announcement at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show made the Bill Gates keynote. [...]

  3. Microsoft bunts, Apple hits a home run -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] If you want a nutshell encapsulation of the problems Microsoft is having trying to enlarge their franchise beyond the PC operating system market to general consumer electronics, nothing will serve better than the events of the last few days. After a soporific Gates’ keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show we were treated to some Robbie Bach whinging that Apple ought to be real careful about launching a cell phone. Today, Steve Jobs knocked the smartphone category out of the park at Macworld: Capping literally years of speculation on perhaps the most intensely followed unconfirmed product in Apple’s history — and that’s saying a lot — the iPhone has been announced today. [...]

  4. Windows Home Server hits Beta 2 -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] More details by following the links. The bloom is off the rose on this one from my point of view ever since it became clear that Microsoft wasn’t going to make it easy to roll your own backup server, but instead were relying on OEMs to sell the complete package. Filed under OS – Server, Beta and CTP, Microsoft, Windows Home Server [...]

  5. Release Candidate of Windows Home Server now available -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Announced back in January, Windows Home Server (the custom version of Windows Server 2003 R2 for home use) has now reached the Release Candidate stage. Microsoft’s Windows Home Server Blog has the news: [...]

  6. Bill Gates’ last CES keynote | Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] 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 ([1], [ 2]). You can catch the replay video online, but here’s a rundown of the new announcements: [...]

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