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[CES 2009] Ballmer Is Solidly Unremarkable In Microsoft Keynote (But Demos Are Cool)

[CES 2009] Ballmer Is Solidly Unremarkable In Microsoft Keynote (But Demos Are Cool)


By Evan Ackerman

Well, it wasn’t last year. Not by a long shot. Steve Ballmer was pretty much all business at this year’s CES Keynote, and although Robbie Bach (president of Microsoft’s entertainment division) did play some games, we didn’t get much in the way of celebrities or fireworks or nakedness anything like that. Below and after the jump, I’ve posted some pictures and videos of the highlights, including Windows 7, Windows Live services, some new Halo games, a game builder for the Xbox 360, and a prototype bendable cloud computing device thingy.

So, the keynote kicked off with a pretty awesome beatbox duel, which I don’t have video of, because honestly, what does a beatbox duel have to do with anything at all Microsoftish? But here’s a picture:


After that, we were introduced to Steve Ballmer. He talks optimism for a while, about how great Windows is and how great their position is and how great the future is and how everything is great. He complains about messages he keeps getting from random people:


Ballmer says that Microsoft wants to try and connect (or integrate) the three screens that you see each day: computer, cell phone, and television. And of course, Windows is the way to do that, specifically Windows 7 (the beta of which is available now) and a whole suite of new cloud computing services called Windows Live:

More pics and vids, including some cool Xbox stuff, after the jump.


Next up is Robbie Bach, the guy in charge of the fun stuff (like Xbox) at Microsoft. He also begins by talking about how great everything is… Xbox 360 is doing great, Zune is doing great, even the Sync partnership they have with Ford is doing great. Kinda a theme here. There are a couple new Halo games coming out a little later this year, specifically Halo Wars (a strategy came) and Halo 3: ODST (Orbital Drop Shock Trooper), a more traditional Halo expansion thing. Then comes a demo of an interactive multi-user gameshow on Xbox Live:

Also new for the Xbox 360 is Kodu, a game creator that’s easy enough for a 12 year old girl to use. And lo and behold, they have an “actual 12 year old girl” named Sparrow to show us how it works:

That’s it for Robbie, and we’re back to more Steve.


Ballmer talks about something in development, a sort of tablet that uses cloud computing to stream data from and between users:

And, that’s it. No big closing act or anything. A solid performance without anything really notable. But still, that Kodu thing was cool, and I do like Steve’s vision of having everything you want anywhere on any device… We just have to get there.