It was the end of an era this week, as Steve Ballmer gave the last CES keynote presentation that a Microsoft CEO is likely to ever deliver. And who can blame them?
Microsoft pays serious coin to command the world's attention every January, and most of the time it turns into an opportunity for folks like me to point out how incredibly out of touch Microsoft is. This last Ballmer extravaganza was no exception.
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Even with Ryan Seacrest (aka the Smarminator) from "American Idol" asking the questions, the Ballmer keynote was a whole lot of meh. Windows Phone 7 blah blah, Windows 8 blah blah, Xbox Kinect blah blah blah. HuffPo journo Peter Goodman describes it in almost Cringleyesque fashion:
Listening to Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer last night hyperventilate about the company's supposedly stupendous future as purveyor of the planet's life-altering experiences was not unlike watching a heavyset, middle-aged guy strutting through a pulsating club, telling all the slinky, 20-something women how hot he looks in a Speedo.
Thank you, Peter, for searing the image of Ballmer in a Speedo permanently into my brain.
As I and plenty of my readers have noted, Windows Phone 7 and its Metro interface are surprisingly smart and nimble. As Nokia rolls out the smartphones it just announced at CES, we'll see more people carrying WinPho in their pockets. (Though probably not while wading through crowds of people mesmerized by their iPhones to the tune of "Season of the Witch" -- just a guess.)