This is my last keynote – Gates

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Bill Gates has presented his last ever keynote for CES in a move to prepare himself to slowly transition himself for his role as part-time and advising products.

In the keynote, he noted that Vista sold 100 million copies; and start talking about the first “digital decade” and Microsoft’s involvement. As well in the speech, he said that PC base has grew to 1 billion.

A video was shown to the press “detailing” Bill Gates’ final day at Microsoft; with guests like Bono, Al Gore, Hilary Clinton and Brian Williams. Shown as what Engadget called it “The Office style”, it shown employees talking about Bill Gates transition.

Continuing back to his speech, Bill also said that there were 10 million users using Windows Mobile and hopes that it would double by next year. As well, he also noted that 420 million are currently using the Windows Live suite of software and web applications.

Windows Live was first shown as a demo, and detailing different software/web applications that could be used to plan a party. Using Windows Live Calendar, Events, Photo Gallery, Spaces, Video Search and Mobile; it showed that Microsoft is dedicated in integrating many of its services as online applications.

Surface was next up and was being shown by Bill Gates as he was looking to buy a new snowboard. In this demo, it shows us how Surface could work with many different applications by using touch to resize, change a colour, add handwriting and drag and drop. Also in the demo, it showed an integration between Windows Live and Windows Mobile by placing your device on the Surface table.

Silverlight was presented next and said that it had a great response in it’s first version. As well, he announced that NBC has partnered up with Microsoft and will use Silverlight to use to on its online video footage. The new partnership will bring High Quality video and interactive features.

Back to more statistics. The Xbox has seen impressive growth, with 17.7 billion shipped and $3.5 billion in business (more than the Wii and the PS3). Also, Xbox Live has reached the 10 million mark – 6 months earlier than announced. ABC and Disney have signed up to bring their TV shows on the Xbox Live download service; and also, MGM will bring their entire library of movies to Xbox Live.

Oh, and new Media Center extenders are being produced by Samsung and HP.

Finally, we reach to Mediaroom – Microsoft’s new IPTV service. They announced that 1 million people have now got Mediaroom and also announced that CNN, TNT and Showtime will bring interactive features using Mediaroom; with CNN using it to cover the 2008 Presidential race. The Xbox 360 will also be used as a set top box thanks to British Telecom (BT). BT will also sell the console.

The Zune had also reasonable success, with good reviews and responses with the newer versions. In the keynote; they showcased the brand-new Zune Social, a music social site. It has already have 1.5 million people using it.

They also demoed Microsoft’s Sync. Ford is set to sell 1 million Sync enabled cars this year. It was also announced that a new upgrade, called 911-assist, will be available. Once the airbags are deployed, it will automatically call the emergency services unless you tell it to not to.

Microsoft also said that Windows Mobile have outsold the Blackberry; and showcased a demo from TellMe’s new service called Say and See. This new application will use GPS and voice recognition to find what you would like.

Finally, Bill showcases a brand new technology that was just off Microsoft’s labs. This new technology brings contextual information from a camera pointing to the person or a building.

We will wait and see what CES brings for us in the gadget sense.

Terence Huynh is reporting from Melbourne. The content shown here was notes from him by a live stream provided by Microsoft. Additional reporting was from Engadget and CNET News.com.

TECH.GEEK sadly cannot cover CES nor Macworld. This is due to travel expenses.

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