On Monday night, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer gave his final keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It marked the end of Microsoft's 15-year run delivering the CES keynote — Ballmer inherited the honor from Bill Gates — as the company breaks away from the annual event. Some expected Microsoft to make a big announcement for its swan song, but instead, the tech giant trotted out Ryan Seacrest, ushered on a "weird but compelling" "tweet choir" (watch the performance here), and rehashed its last six months. Was the keynote a "flop"?
Absolutely: Ballmer "flopped" in a "bizarre display" that featured a "tweet choir" and Seacrest, "but virtually no new significant announcements," says Asher Moses at Stuff.co.nz. Some of the demos didn't work properly, and buzzy rumors that we'd get a first look at a new Xbox 720 console turned out to be bogus. The interview format with Seacrest was "awkward and felt scripted," and the American Idol host seemed to have little understanding of the gadgets being discussed. The general feeling in the room? "Thank God it was the last year."
"Microsoft CEO's keynote speech a flop"
It was certainly a letdown: I "expected great things from Microsoft," says Mike Isaac at Wired. But instead of a bang, we got a whimper — "a bid for attention from a company struggling to stay relevant in an industry increasingly infatuated with newcomers like Facebook, Google, and Amazon." It was about time Microsoft stopped participating in CES — Google and Apple already have, in favor of their own events — but it could have made a more stylish exit. I wish there'd been more of a wow factor, an "Oprah moment." Hopefully when Microsoft unveils Windows 8 in February, there will be.
"With CES sendoff, Microsoft insists it's still cool"
C'mon. It wasn't that bad: "Ballmer was as exuberant a speaker as always," says Nick Wingfield in The New York Times. Besides, no one should have been expecting much. Microsoft has made it clear that it isn't interested in presenting at CES anymore because the January date doesn't fit with its product cycle. For that reason, I had relatively low expectations for this keynote, and "it did not disappoint."
"Microsoft leaves CES on a quiet note"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why you shouldn't eat dog. Not even once.
- How U.S. special forces are preparing for the worst-case scenario in North Korea
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- Why Israel can no longer let the Palestinian Authority be responsible for security in the West Bank
- I hate Ayn Rand — but here's why my fellow conservatives love her
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- 10 things you need to know today: July 25, 2014
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Why are so many parents being arrested?
- How social conservatives became a minority in need of protection
Subscribe to the Week