Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

Bill Gates says an uninspiring farewell to CES

By Chad Sapieha, Special to CBCNews.ca

LAS VEGAS - The almost impossibly long line for Bill Gates’ 11th and final Consumer Electronics Show keynote speech snaked around several lobbies, hallways, escalators, and floors in the Venetian Hotel and Casino in downtown Las Vegas before feeding into a massive room that contained several thousand analysts, industry keeners, and members of the press. It was a queue worthy of a Radiohead concert, taking a good half-hour of shuffling to negotiate.

Was it worth the bother?

The entertainment portion of the evening was. Gates is stepping down from his position as head of Microsoft, the world’s largest software company, in July this year, and he had some fun with his final CES keynote. A self-deprecating teleplay featured some of the world’s biggest celebrities — including Bono, Steven Spielberg, George Clooney, and presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama — fielding calls from the famously nasal computer nerd on his last day of work as he looked for a new hobby to occupy his time. It had many members of the audience laughing so hard they were gasping for breath.

The rest of the presentation? Not so much.

We saw Microsoft’s now famous tabletop computer and were shown how our mobile devices would soon understand our context and location whenever we hop online to search for information.

Gates elaborated on "simpler ways to interface," including touch, voice, and visual recognition.

He announced that Microsoft’s operating system Windows Vista had reached the 100 million users milestone, and that 420 million people now use Windows Live services such as Photo Gallery and Messenger.

We were told about Microsoft’s online television offering called Silverlight, how Samsung and Hewlett Packard are about to bring to market new Windows Media Center Extender technologies, and shown minor innovations made to the existing Ford SYNC voice-activated automobile software. And the Xbox 360 was hailed as the reigning champion of the console gaming scene (based on Microsoft’s claim that it raked in more money in software sales than Wii and PlayStation 3 games combined during the holiday shopping frenzy).

In other words, it was all old news.

Or at least most of it was. Gates’ colleague Robbie Bach announced that Canada would be the first market outside the U.S. to see a release of the Zune — Microsoft’s portable media player and online music service designed to compete with Apple’s ubiquitous iPod players — and that it would likely arrive sometime this spring. (Only 18 months after its U.S. launch. Still, better late than never.)

And not long after Bach’s spiel, Gates came back on stage carrying a chunky black box with a camera inside that had the ability to quickly identify people and buildings simply by focusing on them. (It also provides useful information about the subject it identifies — Bach apparently owes Gates $20 due to a holiday Guitar Hero wager). Gates said that we can expect to see this undeniably neat bit of functionality built into mobile phones in the near future.

Still, underwhelming seems an apt descriptor.

(Chad Sapieha is a Toronto-based freelance writer)

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

This discussion is now Open. Submit your Comment.

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

Post a Comment

Disclaimer:

Note: By submitting your comments you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that due to the volume of e-mails we receive, not all comments will be published, and those that are published will not be edited. But all will be carefully read, considered and appreciated.

Note: Due to volume there will be a delay before your comment is processed. Your comment will go through even if you leave this page immediately afterwards.

Privacy Policy | Submissions Policy

Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

World »

Updated Hurricane Maria destroys homes, triggers flooding in Puerto Rico video
The strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in more than 80 years destroyed hundreds of homes, knocked out power across the entire island and turned some streets into raging rivers Wednesday in an onslaught that could plunge the U.S. territory deeper into financial crisis.
Trapped girl a symbol for Mexico's earthquake rescue efforts video audio
A delicate effort to reach a young girl buried in the rubble of her school stretched into a daylong vigil for Mexico, much of it broadcast across the nation as rescue workers still struggled in rain and darkness early Thursday trying to pick away unstable debris and reach her.
CBC IN GERMANY Impact of Merkel's 'great gamble' on refugees goes beyond the ballot box
Win or lose, the consequences of the chancellor's decision to open Germany during the refugee crisis, including a motivated far right, will be felt long after Sunday's election, Margaret Evans writes.
more »

Canada »

Body found near Arundel, Que., ends police search for missing man in Amber Alert case
Quebec provincial police have found a body in a wooded area near the town of Arundel, 20 kilometres south of Mont-Tremblant, where they've been searching for 71-year-old Yvon Lacasse, who was last seen Sept. 14.
Canadians are confused about science vs. opinion, poll suggests
Are scientific findings a matter of opinion? Forty-three per cent of Canadians say they agree that they are, accoprding to a new poll whose results are being described as “worrisome.”
Canada running to keep up with fast-moving developments in self-driving car technology video
Calling it a disruptive technology with huge potential, Canada's transport minister says when it comes to self-driving cars Canada is doing its best to try and keep up with the pace of innovation.
more »

Politics »

Lynn Beyak removed from all Senate committees
Sen. Lynn Beyak has been removed from all Senate committees, a week after a series of controversial remarks about First Nations people came to light.
Analysis Jagmeet Singh's unique bid to inherit the aura of Jack Layton and Tommy Douglas video
If the NDP should be aiming to be interesting again, leadedship contender Jagmeet Singh is at least that.
Niki Ashton, Jagmeet Singh at odds over domestic abuse allegations in Manitoba NDP video
NDP leadership candidates Niki Ashton and Jagmeet Singh have been ensnared by a controversy over accusations of domestic violence against the new leader of the provincial party in Manitoba.
more »

Health »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Arts & Entertainment»

'This was not ok:' Alvvays singer dodges kiss after fan jumps onstage
Alvvways frontwoman Molly Rankin was left stunned during a recent show when a male fan bolted onto the stage and attempted to kiss her.
As It Happens Artist of $18K bullet-riddled Bieber painting stolen at TIFF says thief called to confess
Toronto artist Viktor Mitic says he was contacted by the thief who stole his bullet-riddled portrait of Justin Bieber from a Toronto gallery, supposedly on a drunken dare.
She'll be back: Linda Hamilton returning to Terminator franchise
Linda Hamilton is returning to the Terminator franchise for the first time since 1991's Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
more »

Technology & Science »

Mexico earthquake: soft soil makes capital shake like it was 'built on jelly'
The soft soil that lines the ancient lake bed that Mexico City is built on amplified the shaking from Tuesday's earthquake and increased its destructive force, seismologists say.
Facebook tightens ad policies after 'Jew-hater' fiasco
Facebook is apologizing for letting advertisers use phrases like "Jew-haters" as a targeting criteria and for not noticing it until it was pointed out.
Canadians are confused about science vs. opinion, poll suggests
Are scientific findings a matter of opinion? Forty-three per cent of Canadians say they agree that they are, accoprding to a new poll whose results are being described as “worrisome.”
more »

Money »

Canada running to keep up with fast-moving developments in self-driving car technology video
Calling it a disruptive technology with huge potential, Canada's transport minister says when it comes to self-driving cars Canada is doing its best to try and keep up with the pace of innovation.
Bombardier looking beyond Tuesday's duty decision as workers rally in Toronto
Even as scores of Bombardier workers in Toronto rallied in support of the company's battle with Boeing, the Montreal transportation company said it's looking beyond next week's U.S. Department of Commerce decision about preliminary duties against its CSeries aircraft.
Magna International suspends supply of parts to CAMI
Autoparts maker Magna International announced Wednesday that it has suspended the supply of parts to CAMI, the Ingersoll auto manufacturing plant that's been crippled by a labour dispute.
more »

Consumer Life »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Sports »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
De Grasse, relay team relishing chance to slow down in off-season
Canada's men's sprint story at last month's world track and field championships began with Andre De Grasse injured and ended with the 4x100-metre relay team finishing sixth. Now, heading into a year with no Olympics or world championships, Canada's fastest men are taking a break and slowing down.
Leafs' Lupul apologizes for 'inappropriate response' to online comments
Joffrey Lupul apologized Wednesday evening for calling the Toronto Maple Leafs "cheaters" in a since-deleted Instagram comment.
Bauer claims new collar helps prevent brain damage
Sports equipment maker Bauer has unveiled a collar-like device it says can protect against microscopic brain damage in athletes playing contact sports like hockey, soccer and football.
more »

Diversions »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
more »