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January 9, 2012 6:56 PM

CES 2012: Ballmer delivering final opening keynote

Posted by Janet I. Tu

LAS VEGAS -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer took to the stage at the Venetian's Palazzo Ballroom Monday evening for what is expected to be his final major address at the Consumer Electronics Show. Here's what's happening. (I'll update and add to the bottom of the post as events progress. Also, check out my colleague, Brier Dudley's blog. He's at CES too.)

6:30 p.m.: Gary Shapiro, president of Consumer Electronics Association, which runs CES, takes the stage. He talks about Bill Gates' first speech at CES where Gates talked about the coming revolution in consumer computing. Subsequently, for 14 years, Gates and then Ballmer have delivered CES' opening keynote -- something that will end with this year's keynote. "Microsoft took a risk on us early and we both benefited," Shapiro said. He makes a point of emphasizing the decision was mutual on the part of Microsoft and CEA: "We agreed to a pause."

6:35 p.m.: Ballmer comes onstage and Shapiro gives him a framed photo collage of Microsoft's years at CES. A video montage of Gates' and Ballmer at CES over the years -- not to mention Conan O'Brien and The Rock -- is shown.

6:40: Host of the evening is announced: Ryan Seacrest. Seacrest says he's long been a Microsoft fan. Seacrest starts a Q&A with Ballmer, who talks about the Metro user interface. Seacrest interjects: "When you said 'Metro,' you looked at me in a strange way."

They start out talking about Windows Phone. There's a demo of the Windows Phone user experience.

6:55: Ballmer says Nokia Lumia 710 and 800 will be available in Canada soon. He says he's really excited about the 4G LTE phones: The Nokia Lumia 900 and the HTC Titan II, on AT&T. Saying there are 50,000 apps for Windows Phones, he says the "Windows Phone line is clearly on the right track."

6:58 p.m.: Seacrest and Ryan talk about Windows 8. Ballmer (in an oft-repeated refrain by Microsofties) calls it a "re-imagining" of the Windows operating system. He then introduces a video of thin-and-light notebooks by various manufacturers running not Windows 8, but Windows 7.

7:02: Tami Reller, Microsoft's chief marketing officer, comes on stage to give a demo of Windows 8. There's nothing here that hasn't been shown before. The picture "password" capability gets some applause, though. (Instead of having a password, you can point to certain features on a picture of your choosing as your "password.")

Windows 8 will run on both x86 and ARM, and Metro style apps can run across the range of devices running on x86 and ARM, she says. But Reller doesn't offer more detail about that.

She talks about the Windows Store, the newly announced app store for Windows 8. The Windows Store will be global, in more than 100 languages.

She gives a demo of the Windows 8 user experience.

Reller talks about ultraportable PCs being announced that run on Windows 7. "Windows 7 today, Windows 8 tomorrow," she says.

Back to Seacrest and Ballmer. Ballmer says every Windows 7 PC will be ready for Windows 8 on day one.

7:20: Musical interlude: A tweet choir sings what people have tweeted about Microsoft at CES.

7:22: Seacrest asks Ballmer about Xbox. Ballmer says there are over 66 million Xbox users and over 40 million Xbox Live subscribers tuning in on a regular basis. While he doesn't say he expected Xbox's success 10 years ago, he does say: "I bet on it 10 years ago."

Ballmer talks about Kinect and how it's a part of Microsoft's work on natural user interface. He says the company has shipped over 18 million Kinect sensors in the last year.

7:25: Craig Davison, senior director of Xbox, gives a demo of Xbox and Kinect. He announces content partnerships with the likes of Comcast, Fox News, The Wall Street Journal.

There's a demo of Sesame Street and Kinect.

7:40: Ballmer says Kinect is being used by people outside Microsoft for a variety of purposes. Ballmer says Kinect is coming to Windows on Feb. 1. Says Microsoft is working with 200 companies on Kinect applications.

7:43: Ballmer talks about other Microsoft achievements last year on Office, with Skype, etc.

7:44: Seacrest asks what's next. Ballmer says Windows 8 is what's next. Ballmer talks about the Metro design being used in Windows 8, Windows Phone, Xbox.

Sez Ballmer: "In 2012, what's next? Metro! Metro! Metro! And of course: Windows! Windows! Windows!"

And Seacrest wraps it up. Seacrest - and Ballmer - out.

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December 17, 2008 2:12 PM

WSJ reviews competition between Microsoft and Adobe

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

The Wall Street Journal today published a nice rundown of the battle brewing between Microsoft and Adobe over Web video and animation software, and Web design tools. The story lists the major customer wins each company has notched this year and refers to Microsoft's willingness to offer lots of extras to get its technology on marquee sites.

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Comments | Category: Adobe , Graphics and imaging |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

December 3, 2008 2:04 PM

Adobe cutting 600 jobs globally, revising revenue forecast downward

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Adobe today announced a restructuring program that will cut 600 full-time positions globally, about 7.8 percent of its work force. We know of at least one person laid off in Seattle today, where the company had 500 employees at last check. The company did not provide specifics, but a spokesperson noted that "the impact is across the board -- all regions, business units and/or functional areas are being impacted in some way."

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Comments | Category: Adobe , Tech Economy |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

November 17, 2008 2:26 PM

Adobe Flash nabs MLB.com video delivery from upstart Microsoft Silverlight

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Microsoft touted a partnership with Major League Baseball Advanced Media as a major win for its upstart Silverlight Web video platform in spring 2007, but today the company has lost the customer to the dominant online video platform: Adobe Flash.

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Comments | Category: Adobe , Graphics and imaging , Video |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

October 13, 2008 9:04 AM

Microsoft releases Silverlight 2, says one in four 'has access' to plug-in

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

As expected, Microsoft announced the release of Silverlight 2, its platform for online media and rich Internet application development. It will be available for download here Tuesday morning. As part of the announcement this morning, Microsoft's Scott Guthrie said "one in four consumers worldwide has access to a computer with Silverlight already installed."

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Comments | Category: Adobe , Digital media , Web browsers |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

September 19, 2008 6:20 PM

Microsoft statement on evidence that Macs were used in 'I'm a PC' commercials

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

At the end of this post, commenter unkanny points out a blemish on the Microsoft ad campaign in the news this week:

"The ad agency goofed when it posted a photo of the ad on the web. Someone checked the metadata. And yep. It was created on a Mac. The next day, the photo's metadata was scrubbed. And the size went from 272k to 852k. Source: www.roughlydrafted.com."

Indeed. Here's coverage from Roughly Drafted and a link to the original Flickr user, Luis DS, who spotted the metadata.

"Apparently, neither Windows PCs nor Expression Studio are up to the task of taking on Apple and destroying its globe enshrouding 'Get a Mac' campaign," wrote Daniel Eran Dilger at Roughly Drafted.

I asked a Microsoft spokesman if Crispin Porter + Bogusky used Macs and Adobe software to create the campaign. The spokesman issued a statement in reply:

"As is common in almost all campaign workflow, agencies and production houses use a wide variety of software and hardware to create, edit and distribute content, including both macs and PCs."

The spokesman pointed out that Apple store clerks use devices running Windows Mobile and that Apple licensed Exchange ActiveSync from Microsoft for the iPhone.

Comments | Category: Adobe , Advertising , Apple , Branding |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

March 26, 2008 10:00 AM

Adobe/Macromedia vet and former NPD analyst Swenson joining Microsoft

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Yet another Adobe/Macromedia veteran is joining the Microsoft team doing battle with the design and online applications giant.

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Comments | Category: Adobe , Microsoft , Recruiting |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

March 19, 2008 10:54 AM

Adobe CEO 'committed' to Flash for iPhone; touts benefits over Microsoft Silverlight

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano


Adobe CEO Narayen.

Two weeks after Apple CEO Steve Jobs made waves by saying Adobe's widely used Flash multimedia technology wasn't up to snuff for the iPhone, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen said Tuesday his company is "committed" to developing a Flash Player for the device.

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Comments | Category: Adobe , Apple , Microsoft , Online services |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

March 17, 2008 7:35 AM

Microsoft Windows Mobile phones to get Adobe Flash Lite video platform

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

You can't yet watch Flash videos on your iPhone, but soon that capability will be available on Windows Mobile phones.

Adobe announced this morning that Microsoft has licensed its Flash Lite software, the version of the nearly ubiquitous multimedia platform designed for mobile devices. Future Windows Mobile phones will be able to access Flash content in the Internet Explorer Mobile browser.

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Comments | Category: Adobe , Microsoft , Wireless & telecom |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

March 10, 2008 5:15 PM

Plenty of former Microsoft employees work at Adobe, too

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Mark Anders, a senior principal scientist at Adobe, read my story today about the former Adobe and Macromedia people who now work on competing products at Microsoft and wanted to point out that "the brainpower flows in both directions." I mentioned at the end of the story that Anders -- who is leading work on Thermo, a new tool for designers building rich Internet applications -- came from Microsoft, but there are many more who have followed a similar path. He gave me just a few examples in an email this afternoon.

"I would like to point out that there are a LOT of former Microsoft people here," Anders wrote.

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Comments | Category: Adobe , Microsoft , Personalities , Recruiting |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

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