Steve Ballmer Delivers Dull Keynote at International CES 2009

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Dull, that is, both in form and in content, according to a couple of reports. This was Steve Ballmer’s first keynote at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which takes place in Las Vegas today. However, Ballmer wasn’t on fire, and neither were Microsoft’s products.

This Wired report, as tweeted on Consumer Electronics Insider, highlights the main points of Ballmer’s preso:

–Windows 7 beta will be available for free download in a couple of days. The best part of Windows 7 is that is rescues users from the devil Vista, which eats up RAM, is incompatible with alomst everything–and everyone–else, and has more pop-ups than a porn site.

The report says that Microsoft listened to Vista critics. Windows 7 will be leaner, faster, and with less annoying pop-ups, it says.

–Another announcement had to do with Windows Live, used to access email, calendars, documents, etc. from anywhere on the Web. Windows Live is now out of Beta. The report says that Windows Live anticipates an OS-irrelevant future, and is designed in part to keep users out of Google’s applications–eg. Gmail.

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–Microsoft also presented a flexible gaming display, which the Wired reporter thought was a fake. He did, however, laud the $8 billion Microsoft put into R&D last year.

In sum, the report says, Microsoft is playing catch-up.
I agree. It went from market innovator to monopolist to pack runner. With an R&D budget that big, you’d think they could come up with something more innovative, instead of loosely following Google and Apple’s leads.