Ballmer upstaged at first-ever CES keynote?
After watching Bill Gates deliver Microsoft’s keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show for 12 years, CEO Steve Ballmer finally got his moment in the sun on Wednesday.
We were rooting for you Steve, but next time, tell your friends not to steal your thunder.
First, it was Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg leaking the news that the U.S. phone company has picked Microsoft as its default mobile search provider. It’s a big win for Microsoft, which has been lagging behind Google and Yahoo on the Web, but Ballmer didn’t get to be the first to tell the world. Seidenberg stole the spotlight, announcing the deal at a Citi investor conference earlier on Wednesday. We were hoping Microsoft would take back the limelight by giving us more details when it was Ballmer’s turn at CES, but alas, all the CEO said was, “I’m also thrilled to announce a new long term partnership with Verizon to offer our live services on all Verizon phones.”
Besides the Verizon deal, Ballmer also announced at CES the beta test launch of Windows 7, Halo Wars, a Windows Live deal with Dell, and a bunch of other stuff. But most of it, while good news, didn’t seem to wow the crowds at the Palazzo Ballroom in the Venetian hotel.
The funniest moment of the keynote, in our opinion, was when Ballmer joked about the advice Bill Gates gave him for his first-ever keynote. Ballmer flashed a message on the screen from Gates that said “There are always two conventions going on during CES – make sure you go to the right one.” The other conference is the adult entertainment expo, of course (if you didn’t know).
He then followed with supposed messages from President-elect Barack Obama, disgraced Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich and others, including this faux gem from Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang:
“Why do you keep ignoring my Facebook requests?”