I, probably like everyone else in the world, find picturing Microsoft without Bill Gates rather hard. Bill Gates is the face of Microsoft even more than Steve Jobs is the face of Apple (the iPod is Apple’s face). But as iconic as one of the richest persons in the world is, that doesn’t change the fact that Bill Gates will be stepping down from his position as CEO of Microsoft in July to take on the full-time responsibility that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation demands.
As has been tradition for the past few years, the kickoff of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is begun with Bill Gates giving the opening keynote. Tonight marks the last CES keynote Bill will give, and his intro to the address was very fitting. Here is a link to the video that was shown addressing what Bill’s last day at Microsoft might be like:
Can anyone say cameo? And talk about getting your money’s worth. I didn’t count, but there are probably around 10-15 semi/full-blown famous people in that 6 minutes clip. Regardless of the fact that Bill can obviously get anyone in the world to do anything for him, this video was a nice piece of comedy that shined above what usually amounts to loads of geekery at events like CES. It’s sad to see such an outstanding innovator leave the industry, but there is little doubt in my mind that the work that he will do with his and Melinda’s foundation will rival what he did at Microsoft in terms of positive impact on the world as a whole.
As for the rest of the keynote, he and his Microsoft helpers did announce some interesting technologies, most importantly the broadcasting of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics online with their Silverlight technology, but nothing really held up to the intro video. Even the Guitar Hero with Slash finale, it all seemed kind of lackluster when compared to the fact that an era of technology leadership is ending and that another is about to begin.
Addressing the CES conference, I probably won’t be covering any of it unless some product really jumps out at me. As for the Macworld conference, I’ll probably be all over that (even though I can’t go this year).