Home Bill Gates CES Keynote 2007

Bill Gates CES Keynote 2007

Bill Gates’ keynote at CES was webcast
by Microsoft. This keynote was entitled ‘Connected Experiences’ and a
relaxed-looking Bill Gates kicked things off by cracking a joke about how, at future CES
appearances, he might talk about infectious diseases (referring to his increasing
involvement in philanthropy work).

The Digital Decade

He starts off by discussing
“the digital decade”, noting in particular digital photography and the Internet. He says
65% of homes have digital cameras, there’s more broadband penetration now, and 40% of
homes have multiple computers. As far as Microsoft devices go, he says there will be more
high definition and use of advanced graphics in games and virtual reality – “presentation
richness” he calls it. He also talks about the terabytes and petabytes of storage being
made available now.

Although he says “we have amazing hardware” (referring to hardware in general, not
necessarily Microsoft’s), he thinks there are some key things missing – especially
“connections”. He gives the usual Microsoft refrain about multiple devices connecting
people together, via the Internet. Interestingly he also notes that it’s not just a
consumer experience – but spans into the business environment too.

Foundational Products

He then talks about the “foundational products” that Microsoft has coming into the
market. Firstly he notes Vista, “the highest quality release [of Windows] we’ve ever
done”. He says Vista and the PC “continue to have a central role, all these devices have
to work together.”

He also notes the importance of Office 07 – saying that Office and Windows Vista will
work closely together. With Office 07, there is a new UI (with improved richness) and it
will connect up to Office Live services.

Vista Media Center

Vista Media Center is an interesting product. The demo showed on stage focused on live
HD TV and rich on demand media services. They showed off Sports Lounge, a partnership
with Fox Sports. It gives users real-time sports scores, real-time alerts, and ability to
track fantasy teams. There was also talk about new content partnerships in Media Center,
which is another familiar Microsoft strategy (partner with as many major content/service
providers as possible).

Windows Ecosystem

Bill then discusses the ecosystem of windows. Services are key for connecting up
software and hardware to online. He says s/w developers are doing all kinds of apps for
vista – sidebar, using search APIs, visualizations (WPF and more), etc. The general theme
here is the “enablement of hardware and software partners”.

Connected Entertainment

Robbie Bach bounds onto
the stage to talk about connected entertainment. Content and community are the two key
concepts here. He starts off with music – noting the MTV Urge partnership launched at
last year’s CES, and also the launch in 2006 of Zune. He says Zune is already the 2nd
most popular music device in their segment.

Bach then goes onto mobile phones, which he positions as “connected entertainment on
my phone”. Windows Mobile “outsells Blackberry in the market”, says Bach.

Next up is gaming. He says the PC and Windows is the number 1 gaming platform in the
world – with 200 million users. Vista will make this more powerful, he says. He talks
about “the very broad ecosystem” of casual gamers.

After a long segment on Xbox (which seems to be a key part of this new living room
media environment for Microsoft) Bach talks about
IPTV. Microsoft (surprise surprise) has a lot of partners with IPTV. In the demo, the
first thing they trumpet is its speed. Also noted is “improved channel browsing”. Plus
IPTV will hook into Xbox Live, so it can be used on the Xbox 360. So essentially they’re
integrating TV with gaming.


Engadget has the full blow-by-blow
of the keynote, including other features such as Sync for cars (a partnership with Ford)
and a kitchen and bedroom of the future (pic below).

Overall my impression was that this year’s CES keynote by Bill Gates and team was
remarkably similar to last years. If you recall, the
main themes at 2006 CES were: device connectivity, partnerships, Internet as delivery
vehicle, video/TV, mobile Web. The main difference between 06 and 07 is that now
Microsoft is much closer to delivering on the promises, with Vista. A lot
of focus was still on the pie-in-the-sky future scenarios though, like the obligatory
tradeshow kitchen of the future.

Another impression I got from Gates’ keynote today is that Xbox is a very important
part of the digital hub for Microsoft. Not particularly surprising perhaps, given how
successful Xbox has been for Microsoft, but it was interesting how many times Xbox and
gaming popped up in the keynote.

Also notable, as Dan Grossman commented
just now on our
previous post
, was the relative lack of Windows Live products. Dan wrote: “Windows
Live didn’t get a whole lot of coverage; most of the talk was about integration of the
Xbox with Xbox Live, using the Xbox to download TV and movies, using the Xbox to play
games with people connected through Vista, and using the Xbox to play new HD DVDs.” I
agree – apart from a mention of Virtual Earth’s 3D features and also Image search
(generally regarded as Microsoft’s most impressive Live product currently), the silence
about Windows Live apps was deafening.

Extra images: Palmsolo

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.