Microsoft big boss Steve Ballmer is just now taking the stage here in Las Vegas to kick off CES 2010. What's he gonna do and say? Here, I'll tell you.
Update: The keynote began with a testimony on the benefits of technology from SNL's Seth Myers. He thanks technology for all of the wondrous humiliations he can now participate in, such as worldwide publication of Halloween images, buying tobacco-store Indians on eBay, and having his grandma tell him he looks too fat or too thin from 2000km away.
Seth Myers as drunken smurf:
Says Ballmer: "We Bing, and we Bing, and we Bing. Bing! Bing! Bing!"
Update 2: They were going to show off a TV with a PC built in, but the technical difficulties that delayed the show apparently screwed up the computer. To quote Steve: "It blew the tube". Didn't know they had tubes, but I get the picture. There it is, lurking in the back:
Steve doesn't have a whole lot of breaking news today. The company has already confirmed that the Xbox 360 motion-sensing technology codenamed Natal would be available in time for the holidays. Also, that sexy Windows Phone the HTC HD2 will be coming to the US, via T-Mobile, sometime in the second quarter of 2010.
He does have one trick up his sleeve, one that people have been buzzing about. But mostly, Steve and Robbie Bach, the head of the Entertainment & Devices division, will be talking about 2009.
And why not? 2009 was the year of Microsoft, and Ballmer & Bach are going to confirm it with facts from NPD and others, citing for instance that Windows 7 boosted PC sales in a huge way, with 50 per cent growth over the previous holiday sales season. (Ballmer won't get too detailed though, as the real numbers are set to come out during their quarterly earnings report on January 28.)
They will brag about how awesome Xbox is, how in its 10-year existence, it has accounted for $US20 billion in retail sales (games and hardware) and accrued 39 million Xbox Live members worldwide.
Ballmer will say that Bing, with 11 million users, is already a success (though there's no market share data to speak of yet), and that HP will use it as the default search engine and homepage on browsers in systems shipping in 42 countries.
They will talk about Ford Sync, and a new in-car experience they've developed with Kia. The 2011 Kia Sorrento will feature a service like Sync, called UVO. It may not look like Sync, but it will be similarly functional.
At some point during the hardware fondling, he's going to hold aloft a pretty sweet "slate" device from HP. This is not speculation, it is confirmed. It's not the Courier of bloggy lore. But it is a product with great battery life and a Windows 7 touch experience, not a prototype but a product that Microsoft says HP will be releasing.