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The Final CES Keynote From Bill Gates

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the won't-be-the-same-without-him dept.

182

Sunday evening saw the final CES keynote delivered by Bill Gates in his current role with the Microsoft corporation. Speculation about big announcements generally seemed to be for naught, as his last address at the show focused more on broad concepts than blockbuster news. "Gates outlined three major themes for the second digital decade-high definition displays with 3D experiences and high quality video and audio, connected services and the power of natural interfaces. Gates had a vision early of those themes, but his quest to make the Tablet PC, Media Center PCs and natural interfaces, such as speech and touch, more mainstream has not been realized." A full description of the talk, including his Guitar Hero finale with Slash, is available in Engadget's liveblog of the event.

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Second edition out soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21941150)

Just like with The Road Ahead [amazon.com] Bill Gates will soon bring out a second edition of the video recording of the keynote, where he'll use state-of-the-art video-editing wizardry to make it look like he had predicted this year's tech trends all along.

Re:Second edition out soon (2, Funny)

deniable (76198) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941196)

I worked with a guy who had that book. Is it the one with a CD that wouldn't work in Windows NT?

The Road Ahead (2, Funny)

LKM (227954) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942778)

Awesome book. My mom got it for me because it's a computer book, after all, and she knew I somewhat disliked Gates. I love the part where he invents the Mac. Great stuff.

Silverlight? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21941158)

What the fuck is Silverlight and why do I have to download yet another plugin to see the CES page? Hasn't Microsoft ever heard of Flash?

Re:Silverlight? (5, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941230)

Silverlight is Microsoft's answer to Flash, more or less. It's supposed to make Web applications more GUI-like and introduce fancy things like 3D graphics and advanced user interfaces to Web applications.

Microsoft's heard of Flash, I'm sure, but I'm also sure they prefer their own in-house developed stuff to anything coming out of a competitor.

Re:Silverlight? (4, Insightful)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941294)

Yep. It's their business model.

Create your own, force it on your customers. Of course they would prefer that their tech become commonplace, besides, flash is mainstream on Linux too, so if they can find a way to lock Linux out by making an alternative they delay Linux growth in market share.

Re:Silverlight? (5, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941318)

Microsoft has made the spec relatively open and it's being implemented by Miguel de Icaza [tirania.org] & Co. as part of the Mono project.

Re:Silverlight? (2, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941540)

Worth also mentioning that its not only open and being implemented as part of Mono, its being directly supported by MS and the Silverlight team.

Re:Silverlight? (5, Insightful)

Alphager (957739) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941956)

Worth also mentioning that its not only open and being implemented as part of Mono, its being directly supported by MS and the Silverlight team.
As in "Will always lag behind Silverlight, no Silverlight-Dev is working on Moonlight and Silverlight 2.0 will be announced before Moonlight 1.0 is ready". Same as with .NET.

Changes nothing (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21941696)

Nobody in their right mind is falling for the mono trap. Microsoft tech is "a cancer that seeks to attach itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches".

Re:Changes nothing (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21941768)

People say the same thing about GPL.

Re:Changes nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21941966)

Whoosh...

Re:Silverlight? (5, Insightful)

EvilRyry (1025309) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942228)

As siblings have mentioned, Moonlight will likely always be a few steps behind silverlight. Also, there's no guarantee the spec will remain open in the future (see SMB, IE for Mac/UNIX for more info).

More importantly, Moonlight will never be truly Free. Take a look at the audio/video formats it supports. VC-1... sure great for video, also have the option of WMV which I have a feeling will be quite popular. Audio - WMA or MP3. From Miguel de Icaza's web log [tirania.org]

Microsoft will make the codecs for video and audio available to users of Moonlight from their web site. The codecs will be binary codecs, and they will only be licensed for use with Moonlight on a web browser

Sure these formats have been/will be reverse engineered, but with DRM out there in the world it will make decoding DRMed media with open source codecs illegal! So much for free!

This doesn't make Flash any better, I'm just saying that people who proclaim that Silverlight is great because it will have a real open source implementation aren't telling or don't know the whole story.

Re:Silverlight? (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942456)


This doesn't make Flash any better, I'm just saying that people who proclaim that Silverlight is great because it will have a real open source implementation aren't telling or don't know the whole story.


All that being the case, I think you still have to ask yourself:

1) Is this a lot more than Microsoft has historically done, openness-wise?

2) If you had heard a few years ago that Microsoft was trying to make a Flash-killer, would you have expected any kind of support from them in making it run on Linux?

3) How much more than this can you realistically expect, given that Microsoft's goals as an organization are never going to be, say, the FSF's goals?

Re:Silverlight? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21941490)

Silverlight is Microsoft's answer to Flash, more or less. It's supposed to make Web applications more GUI-like and introduce fancy things like 3D graphics and advanced user interfaces to Web applications.

Translation: More proprietary shit you do not need and do not want.



Re:Silverlight? (1)

bstamour (1053588) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942446)

> Translation: More proprietary shit you do not need and do not want. I agree that in most cases flash is a waste of time, but there certainly are cases where it is a good solution. Silverlight too. For example: a streaming video site. Do we need it? Not really.. Do we want it? In some cases, yes.

Re:Silverlight? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21942470)

Welcome to 2008, the year of <video> on the web

Re:Silverlight? (2, Interesting)

tgd (2822) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941520)

Not really... they serve similar goals, but its really MS's way of getting the (MUCH more powerful) .NET development environment in the hands of rich client content web developers.

The uptake is slow, but IMO its really a better technology than Flash. It gives far better language tools to the programmers and provides much better separation of design, interface and code where doing larger projects with bigger teams will be easier.

Silverlight 1.0 was very flash-like -- the framework wasn't fully fleshed out as far as what you could present to the user, but the newer releases provide full GUI toolkits.

Lets put it this way -- you wouldn't (no matter what Adobe thinks) build an enterprise application with Flash. Some smaller teams may play around with it, but it wouldn't happen successfully in the broad market. I personally don't believe the same can be said about Silverlight.

Re:Silverlight? (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941692)

you wouldn't (no matter what Adobe thinks) build an enterprise application with Flash.
You might not have heard of Flex [adobe.com] and Air [adobe.com]. I'm not a big Adobe fan, but that stuff is much more programmer oriented and scalable than anything done with Flash before.

Re:Silverlight? (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941776)

No, I have. Its still not the same thing.

Imagine the difference, if it helps, between Javascript and Java. The difference is that significant between what any of the Flash environments will do and a real language and framework for building real enterprise applications -- basically you probably COULD do it, but you're going to be hating life as the project grows bigger.

Re:Silverlight? (2, Interesting)

Khuffie (818093) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941964)

Even though you've heard of Flex, you don't seem to be that familiar with it. Flex is getting quite close to Java in terms of programming methods and it's framework is pretty solid. In fact, where I work, whenever we need to hire someone we just look at Java developers and they're up and running in no time. And I've found I've been able to look at Java myself even though I've never had much experience with it. And yes, we do build a real enterprise level application.

Exactly (4, Insightful)

encoderer (1060616) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942032)

Uptake has been slow, but when you're Microsoft, you can afford a slow adoption rate. Especially for a technology like this. Microsoft sees the writing on the wall. This is going to be a major component of their web strategy, I'm sure.

And when it comes down to it, this is just plainly a better technology than Flash. The only advantage flash has is it's adoption rate and mind-share. Eventually these will be neutralized.

The newest version of ActionScript is a HUGE improvement upon its predecessors. It truly is. But when it comes to building full-featured web apps that look and act like native rich-client apps, it's still nearly as hard to do that with AS in Flash as it is to do it with JS/Ajax/HTML.

But with silverlight 1.1 you get the ability to use any CLR-based language-- C#, C++.Net, J#, Python.Net, Ruby.Net, TCL.Net, VB.Net, etc etc. You also get the advantage of the largest framework ever shipped with a language (.Net, of course) and the huge amount of existing code. Not to mention, if you've already got an app -- web based or rich client -- written in .Net, you can port it to silverlight without a terrible amount of work. ESPECIALLY if it was designed using an MVC pattern (or, at least, a 2-tiered approach that would allow you to reuse the model & controller code).

I'm really not a big Microsoft fan. I've spent most the last year developing with PHP on a LAMP stack. But if I was asked to build a large web based app with a rich-client feel and given the choice of Flash and Silverlight, not having ever tried either, I'd feel a lot better about the latter than I do the former.

I'm not knocking flash. It's just that flash wasn't really designed to build large apps. It's just been manipulated into that in the past couple years. Silverlight, OTOH, was designed precisely for this reason.

Re:Exactly (4, Insightful)

Lodragandraoidh (639696) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942484)

This looks great...until they break compatibility in some clever way to marginalize some segment.

Its not about the tool itself; it is about what the Microsoft management/lawyers will do with it to negate their competition. They've done it before, many times. They've been convicted in an antitrust case, dragging it out long enough for a sympathetic administration to bail them out of hot water. They will do it again.

Microsoft tools are snake oil.

Re:Silverlight? (1)

baadger (764884) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942546)

Microsoft's heard of Flash, I'm sure, but I'm also sure they prefer their own in-house developed stuff to anything coming out of a competitor.
Microsoft weren't competing with Adobe with Flash *until* they brought out Silverlight.

Re:Silverlight? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942912)

You're being very specific.

Is Microsoft a software company that produces desktop applications? Yes.
Is Adobe a software company that produces desktop applications? Yes.

Ergo, they are competitors. Maybe not niche-for-niche, but they are competitors.

Re:Silverlight? (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942882)

I hope they learned their lesson where active-x was supposed to be their answer to javascript but really added nothing extra apart from being a malware vector. Now that's something that's not quite so easy to do in javascript.

Re:Silverlight? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21941232)

Silverlight is Microsoft grasping for straws.

Re:Silverlight? (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941356)

I'm at work. Will I get fired for downloading Silverlight? Don't take this as a troll/flame/whatever, but do we really need another Microsoft imposed Standard, when there are already decent standards in place? I guess I'll never know what this story is about.

Re:Silverlight? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21941388)

At least you have the option. There is no Linux x86_64 port of Silverlight apparently... :-) not that I would download it even if there were ... Not that I cared much to see his bullshit CES speech.

It was bad enough when websites were driven by flash, but now that there is another flash vendor in town I predict stupidity abound.

Re:Silverlight? (1)

argiedot (1035754) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941952)

Crap, you're right. I'm on x86_64 too so I can't access it. Is there any other way of getting to that content?

Re:Silverlight? (2, Interesting)

jackharrer (972403) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941454)

Actually as much as I don't like Msft, I think Silverlight is good. It makes Adobe to update Flash, it promotes competition and stops the stagnation that's been around for a long time. MPEG4 for Flash anybody? Why does it took so long to implement it? There was no need for Adobe to do it?

Offtopic: Anybody's curious when Msft is going to buy Novell and Suse with it? So much Msft cash is going into Mono and similar projects sponsored by Novell...

Re:Silverlight? (1)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941694)

Which particular "Decent Standard" would that be? SVG isn't really ready to take on Flash, and Flash itself is more or less undocumented outside Adobe, so the only application that will edit Flash reliably is... Flash.

Stop that! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21941988)

Which particular "Decent Standard" would that be? SVG isn't really ready to take on Flash, and Flash itself is more or less undocumented outside Adobe, so the only application that will edit Flash reliably is... Flash.
Stop! You're bringing logic into our emotion-filled debates! Doing so is highly inconvenient. Flash is a "decent standard" because Microsoft didn't make it. It doesn't need to make sense, it just is the way things are!

Re:Silverlight? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21942094)

I'm at work. Will I get fired for downloading Silverlight?
Uh, what? If you get fired for downloading a browser plugin, what makes you think you can post to discussion forums like Slashdot?

Don't take this as a troll/flame/whatever, but do we really need another Microsoft imposed Standard, when there are already decent standards in place? I guess I'll never know what this story is about.
What sort of 'decent standard' is there for rich content applications?
* DHTML/JS - no plugins needed, but much harder to implement
* Flash - nearly ubiquitous, but not an open standard
* SVG - ha.

Re:Silverlight? (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942648)

Silverlight is a thing Microsoft wants everybody to use instead of standard web technologies, but fortunately pretty much nobody actually uses it (unlike $#@! Flash).

Is it any wonder Gates is stepping down? (0, Troll)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941170)

Gates knows he can't win. Vista is a huge flop and could spell the end of Microsoft's dominance. It's game over, as far as BillG is concerned. Watch in the next few years and Microsoft's prominence and influence in the industry begins to dwindle. Just remember, you read it here first on Slashdot.

Re:Is it any wonder Gates is stepping down? (1, Insightful)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941184)

If you believe this put your money where your mouth is and short MSFT.

Re:Is it any wonder Gates is stepping down? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21941214)

We've "read it on Slashdot" every year for the past 10. Just like "Linux on the desktop THIS year," it isn't happening any time soon.

Re:Is it any wonder Gates is stepping down? (2, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941254)

We've "read it on Slashdot" every year for the past 10. Just like "Linux on the desktop THIS year," it isn't happening any time soon.
Yeah, but you've never heard it before from an individual who predicted Microsoft's dominance before it ever happened. I've been watching the industry for over 20 years now.

Re:Is it any wonder Gates is stepping down? (2, Insightful)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941282)

No kidding... It is actually getting a bit tedious...

Linux on the server? Yeah I can see that...
Linux on the desktop? Nope not a chance... That moment passed.

Think about it... Vista took how long? And Vista is selling how much? And still people are saying "this is the year of Linux on the desktop." BUT... What has been gaining traction? OSX...

This says one thing. I want a desktop that works and lets me get my work done and I don't care if it costs.

Re:Is it any wonder Gates is stepping down? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941368)

And still people are saying "this is the year of Linux on the desktop."
FWIW, this (2007)was the year when I first put Linux on my desktop. After a horrific experience with Vista, I installed Ubuntu Studio and it's been smooth sailing so far. My daughter, who is not a techie, prefers that machine over all my others. She gave me a lecture about how Linux is "safer from viruses and DRM" and I did a double-take. I wonder who she's been talking to.

If it's any of you guys, hands off.

Re:Is it any wonder Gates is stepping down? (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941492)

2007 was also the Year of Linux for me too! Earlier attempts had been too difficult to install Linux, this time it was easier then XP.

Re:Is it any wonder Gates is stepping down? (1)

Zebedeu (739988) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942064)

Same here, and never looked back (except for work -- damn simulation software!)

Re:Is it any wonder Gates is stepping down? (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941862)

gave me a lecture about how Linux is "safer" [...] I wonder who she's been talking to.
She's got a nerd boyfriend, just like her mom :D

Re:Is it any wonder Gates is stepping down? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941378)

Grandparent is putting words in my mouth. I never said that 2008 (or any year) would be the year of Linux on the desktop. I think Linux on the desktop will continue to play a role in certain niche market segments, notably geek desktops, low-end desktops, some so-called "thin-client" solutions, in point-of-sale systems and so forth. Beyond that the future is still uncertain -- OS X has gained a lot of traction, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for Linux desktops. I see more of a mixed market. We don't need one desktop to rule them all. In the end, I doubt it will matter much what your desktop OS is as more and more you will see Internet-based and network centric applications running with platform transparency. Don't necessarily think browser apps or "Google Apps", but think more Google Earth with data to be stored both locally and on the Internet/intranet.

That's a Laughable Explanation (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941302)

Gates knows he can't win. Vista is a huge flop and could spell the end of Microsoft's dominance.
You're right, it could. Hell anything could happen with the software market like it is these days. Truth is that Vista's first year adoption rate are pretty much better than XP's [zdnet.com]. So why didn't he step down when XP was coming out?

I hate Microsoft too but it's the natural succession of leadership, Gates is past his prime. His company is not (has it ever had 'a prime'?). I don't think he's stepping down from lack of success, I think he's stepping down because maybe he realized what horrid things a leader with that much power (inadvertently) has to do.

And that's fine with me because Ballmer is one easy man to hate. Just redirect everything to him. Gates is rich but that doesn't make him any more despicable than Rockefeller, Hughes or Warren Buffett. At least he's trying to help other countries in the world. I think Gates has generally had good intentions with bad consequences for many members of the tech community. Whether it's for family, boredom or health reasons, he's certainly not stepping down because Microsoft is losing this game.

Re:That's a Laughable Explanation (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941456)

Yeah, 'cause Ed Bott and the sources he quotes from are sooo unbiased. *rolls eyes*

Ed Bott has been on the Microsoft dole for years. Don't expect his articles to be anything but Microsoft spin.

And Gates is past his prime, but Ballmer is not? Steve Ballmer has been Billy's right hand man almost since the beginning of Microsoft. He's like Microsoft employee #1 or something. He's already been silently running things behind the scenes since the days of OS/2. Bill has been mostly a face-man in the last, say 15 years or so, still making a lot of high-level decisions, but the nitty gritty details have been handled by Ballmer for a very long time.

Re:That's a Laughable Explanation (1)

Siddly (675342) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941834)

Try to find an advert for a PC or laptop that doesn't have Vista installed (I've spent the last 3 days looking for a laptop and only found one that's suitable - with XP which I don't want) and you'll know why there is that amount of cooption, not adoption. At least Robin Hood and the Jones boys stole from the rich and gave to the poor, while Bill Gates has scored a first, stealing from the poor and giving them back the odd morcel. If you consider what Microsoft gains in sales to poor countries against what Bill Gates doles out, you'll see that Microsoft is the main beneficiary. Even here in the UK, he donated a coach to Age Concern, with it being used to introduce seniors to Windows and Age Concern which is a charity that's always chasing donations, spends a goodly amount of cash it raises buying Windows -- and they are greatful to Bill Gates, a wonderful man. I for one will make sure that as a senior myself, I don't ever make a donation to Age Concern.

Re:That's a Laughable Explanation (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941880)

Another year, more speculation about an Apple OS or Linux finally coming into its own. Like Duke Nuke 'Em Forever, it's a dream that never really materializes.

Re:That's a Laughable Explanation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21942128)

At least he's trying to help other countries in the world.

From what I have read, Bill gates started his philanthropy much much later than people half as rich as he is. It seems the only reason he started was because of his wife.....which does not impress me.

Re:Is it any wonder Gates is stepping down? (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941334)

Is he really stepping down? The link in the article [microsoft.com] asks me to install Silverlight and I can't read it as such.... The other links don't say anything like it. (My mistake: this one does [zdnet.com]) A Google search yields this [news.com], though.

Anyway, if I'd been him, I'd have retired years ago ;-)

Re:Is it any wonder Gates is stepping down? (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941500)

Ballmer has proven to be a big mouthed dead weight, Bill might want to go but he is stuck, Ballmer would be the death of any company if he was left solely in charge and running on bull shit and ego. Vista and office2007, xbox360 (poor build engineering) really do have the ballmer mark of failure on them.

Re:Is it any wonder Gates is stepping down? (2, Insightful)

Nullav (1053766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941386)

Netcraft confirms it!
But seriously, MS has too much money jammed up its collective ass and too many branches for the loss of a monopoly in the OS market to kill it outright. They still make wonderful peripherals, the RedRing 360, and their research division must bring in plenty, thanks to patent licensing. Oh, and don't forget that many are just snapping up XP if they don't like Vista; it's still another dollar for MS.
Who knows, maybe MS would take another look at Windows if sales started plummeting.

Re:Is it any wonder Gates is stepping down? (4, Interesting)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941402)

Ahh, but the genius of it all... In 10 years, people will point to Bill G. stepping down as the cause of the MS implosion, completely forgetting about the Vista flop. Or the MS apologists will just cry "Perfect Storm" with the rise of OSX and Linux alternatives over the next several years.

Re:Is it any wonder Gates is stepping down? (1)

alexhs (877055) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941912)

you read it here first on Slashdot.
Here on Slashdot, maybe, but here in that thread, not [slashdot.org] :P

Holodecks! (3, Funny)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941186)

The way games are getting better visual wise, and tech is getting more powerful, I have a feeling we might see at least an early version of a Holodeck in our lifetimes.

Now I ALSO hope that by that time Linux will be the OS of choice for the manufacturer, I simply will not survive a BSOD in glorious Holodeck VR...

Gates on Tablet PCs (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21941292)

"The Tablet takes cutting-edge PC technology and makes it available wherever you want it, which is why I'm already using a Tablet as my everyday computer. It's a PC that is virtually without limits -- and within five years I predict it will be the most popular form of PC sold in America." - Gates at COMDEX 2001

And unlike the 640K story, there's an actual source [microsoft.com] for this quote.

Re:Gates on Tablet PCs (5, Interesting)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942328)

"The Tablet takes cutting-edge PC technology and makes it available wherever you want it, which is why I'm already using a Tablet as my everyday computer. It's a PC that is virtually without limits -- and within five years I predict it will be the most popular form of PC sold in America." - Gates at COMDEX 2001

He is not completely mistaken, actually... [apple.com]

Re:Gates on Tablet PCs (1)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942682)

Nobody uses the iPhone as their main PC. A better comparison would be OLPC... which is more of a Laptop than a Tablet. But it is much more portable than Dell's which cost twice as much.

Cost factors keep desktop computers relevant for gamers and businesses with a non-mobile workforce. Otherwise, Laptops + Smartphone are preferred. Five years from now, Laptops and Smartphone will merge into a user-friendly portable Tablet PC and kill those two markets. At least, that is my prediction... and five years from now you can quote this to make fun of me.

fuck microsoft (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21941398)

IMO, get ready to salute this guy, you can bet he's going to be elected somehow, people who get money go to power, one nation under microsoft, hail satan

My sincere hope. (0, Troll)

Yaztromo (655250) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941414)

Sunday evening saw the final CES keynote delivered by Bill Gates in his current role with the Microsoft corporation.

I sure hope the door didn't hit him on the ass on the way out.

Yaz.

Xbox 360 Ultimate (2, Interesting)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941418)

Well, it was supposed to be the Xbox 360 Ultimate, but after what happened over the weekend it's now being used to prop open a door.

The problem might be too much too soon (4, Interesting)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941446)

Those things never became mainstream because Microsoft was always trying to introduce them before either the hardware or the software were ready. They thought that people would accept something that actually did not work very well because their engineers thought it would be compelling.

Unfortunately, it doesn't work like that. Disruptive technologies gain traction fast when they have a compelling advantage and a short learning curve.

For instance, cannon were a disruptive technology but had a very long learning curve, maybe hundreds of years. Railways, on the other hand, had a compelling advantage in speed and capacity, but had a relatively short learning curve because on the one hand there was a huge body of canal building knowledge to draw on when building railways, and on the other the user interface (buy ticket, get on train) was dirt simple. So railways spread rather fast.

None of the ideas Microsoft have touted have had either a compelling advantage or a short learning curve. Speech input is simply less effective, for many reasons, than learning to type. Lugging around a tablet PC does not result in productivity gains for most people. And, as anyone who has ever tried to design a rule based decision support system knows, anything involving natural interfaces is simply very hard to do indeed, and the payback is rarely there except in a few niche markets.

I believe that the reason for this is that many large corporations have simply forgotten who their customers are. Google will find it hard to do this because there is no lock-in, and their customers have no loyalty. They must listen to their two classes of customers - sellers and end users - or die. Microsoft doesn't seem, any more, to know whether its customers are the recording industry, computer manufacturers, CIOs or, a poor fourth, the actual end users of their computers. Apple could fall into the same trap, but at the moment (at least with personal computers) seems to have its eye on the ball.

Microsoft is huge, bigger in revenue than IBM, and enormously rich. It is impossible to second guess them, and shorting their stock would be foolish. But anyone who has followed the trajectory, in recent years, of (say) Ford versus Toyota and Porsche, would have to agree that being very large is no guarantee of continuing success.

Re:The problem might be too much too soon (1)

paxgaea (219419) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941742)

"For instance, cannon were a disruptive technology but had a very long learning curve, maybe hundreds of years."

That's cuz trebuchet technology fsckin rocked (literally).

Sorry, offtopic, but I had to.

Re:The problem might be too much too soon (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941770)

MS has never really been about innovation so much as implementation. Their products have never been groundbreaking, but they are able to market them over the long haul very well. They know how to slowly nibble their way into markets thought impenetrable (like the browser market, once completely dominated by Netscape, and the game console market, once completely dominated by Sony). None of their ideas are particularly original, but they know how to mass produce them and get them into people's homes as well as anyone.

And they are in it for the long haul too. Even if a product is a joke in its first iteration (IE 1.0, the first Zune) they don't give up on it.

Re:The problem might be too much too soon (2, Informative)

YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941778)

"Microsoft is huge, bigger in revenue than IBM, and enormously rich. It is impossible to second guess them, and shorting their stock would be foolish. But anyone who has followed the trajectory, in recent years, of (say) Ford versus Toyota and Porsche, would have to agree that being very large is no guarantee of continuing success."

I'm not sure what you mean with that last example, but it seems you are missing a fact here: Toyota is the largest car manufactorer bar GM, and is set to surpass GM in years or maybe even months.

Re:The problem might be too much too soon (3, Insightful)

Warbothong (905464) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942138)

Touch screens work on the iPhone because users are going to be doing the same thing anyway if the buttons were physical. Using touch technology exclusively on large areas has been around for years and years, and it is proven to be tiresome (the whole 'gorilla arms' thing). Moving images of photos around on a coffee table? Possibly, but organising a photo collection on such a huge screen by stretching around to touch the things I want? No thanks, I'd prefer a mouse because it's less effort. Use touch-based input for things not possible with other technology, or when people would be doing the same kind of thing anyway (like pressing buttons on a 'phone's keypad or a computer's keyboard), not because it is "natural" (walking is natural, but the wheel is one of the best discoveries yet made). Microsoft's dug themselves quite a firmly entrenched computing world BTW, so getting any significant numbers of people away from generic x86 + Windows XP + VisualBasic + generic USB mouse will be difficult unless they come up with something more impressive than specifying expensive customisation of items via a fingerpainting-accurate interface. In my opinion, if touchscreens were the only kind of pointing device people had thought of up until now then there would be a company like Microsoft doing exactly the same flashy (sorry, Silverlighty) demos as they are now, but replacing "new touch technology" with "new mouse technology" and replacing "natural" with "efficient".

Re:The problem might be too much too soon (1)

ericferris (1087061) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942870)

Microsoft is huge, bigger in revenue than IBM, and enormously rich.

Not according to financial data. MSFT have a 54 billion income, vs. 96 billion for IBM.

Microsoft is facing a saturated market. Every desktop PC on the planet that could run an MS app is already doing so. The rest is running non-MS OSes and that percentage is growing. In the server world, Linux is a very strong competitor. Same in the consumer electronics world. Mobile phones? Against Symbian and Linux, Microsoft CE is losing market shares. Set-top boxes? After what MS did to AT&T's IPTV project (delayed because of Windows CE problems [dmwmedia.com]), carriers will think twice. Airplane in-flight entertainment systems? Linux again. [linux.com]

MSFT is trying to make inroads on new markets, but it has so far failed to achieve domination in anything but the desktop.

So I wouldn't sell them short, but I wouldn't expect them to skyrocket either.

Bye-bye Billy... (2, Funny)

ceeam (39911) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941494)

... your predictions always sucked and they do now. Don't let the door hit you on the way out. Oh, and thanks for nothing!

So long, and thanks for all the fish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21941662)

...carp, unfortunately. :-(

Ref. [wikipedia.org]

Someone has to defend him here (2, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941836)

Before you blast the man, think long and hard about the fact that he is the first billionaire to ever publically give away his entire fortune to real charity (that's right, he's not even giving his own kids anything). That's way more than any of the geek "heroes" like Steve Jobs have done or will ever do for humanity.

It's easy to bad-mouth his business practices, it's easy to bad-mouth his products. But I can't bad-mouth the man himself. He's way more charitable than I would be in the same circumstance.

Re:Someone has to defend him here (2, Insightful)

dc29A (636871) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942160)

Before you blast the man, think long and hard about the fact that he is the first billionaire to ever publically give away his entire fortune to real charity (that's right, he's not even giving his own kids anything). That's way more than any of the geek "heroes" like Steve Jobs have done or will ever do for humanity.


It's easy to bad-mouth his business practices, it's easy to bad-mouth his products. But I can't bad-mouth the man himself. He's way more charitable than I would be in the same circumstance.

Did he earn his vast fortune in an ethical, and in some cases legal way?

No.

MS is a convicted monopolist on 3 continents. MS used every possible strong arm tactic to cram their shitty OS down on everyone's throat. It's very easy to bad mouth the man himself when he earned most of his fortune by screwing others.

And I won't even mention BillG's "stellar" predictions. Now let me go back and continue work on my Tablet PC because it's more productive ... oh wait ...

Re:Someone has to defend him here (1)

dwiget001 (1073738) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942300)

Bill Gates' *charity* when it comes to the computer arena, is just another marketing/PR arm of Microsoft.

Re:Someone has to defend him here (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942376)

A man doesn't give away his entire fortune as a mere PR stunt. If it were just a PR stunt, it would be MS doing it--not Bill Gates personally.

Re:Someone has to defend him here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21942462)

It reminds me of that scene in Lethal Weapon 2, when Murtaugh refuses to take money from the bad guys because it is drug money.

Text-ANSI-based DOS Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21941518)

Wow then they finally added all the features the elite text-based DOS ANSI and APPLE color text graphics windows programs had.

lol Trolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21941524)

Gotta love all the trolls who can't accept the fact that Microsoft IS the fact. Plain and simple.

Give Bill a break (5, Insightful)

GuyfromTrinidad (1074909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941676)

I think we need to cut Bill some slack as he rides off into the sunset. No one can dispute the impact that Microsoft and Gates has had on the world of computers and technology in general. I get it, for many of you "Microsoft is Evil" but let us use this opportunity to acknowledge what Bill has done for Tech, especially now that he is going to be focusing more on his humanitarian work. So from me, Thanks Bill and good luck.

Re:Give Bill a break (2, Insightful)

jejones (115979) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941820)

>...let us use this opportunity to acknowledge what Bill has done for Tech, especially now that he is going to be focusing more on his humanitarian work.

From the Wikipedia article on Al Capone:

"Capone often tried to whitewash his image and be seen as a community leader. For example, he started a program, which was continued for decades after his death, to fight rickets by providing a daily milk ration to Chicago school children. Also during the Great Depression, Capone opened up many soup kitchens for the poor and homeless."

Re:Give Bill a break (5, Insightful)

paxgaea (219419) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941864)

I think some of us pine for what could have been, not the mediocrity that we ended up with as we grew into our technological world (speaking as someone in his early 30's, growing up in the Atari age).

The negative effect that monopolistic actions have had in stifling innovation has been extremely unfortunate, even if in some ways we don't even realize how unfortunate.

Also, while I give him credit for what he has been doing lately, as far as I remember, Bill Gates was late to the humanitarian game too. I seem to remember him having to have external pressure applied to get going on that.

Like many, he has (and will have) a mixed legacy.

Re:Give Bill a break (1)

Wylfing (144940) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942684)

I hope you don't get modded down, because that's a valid thing to say. Microsoft is the George Lucas of IT. A long time ago, they did a few great things, but then became victims of their own wild success. We didn't need the last 25 years to be sans Microsoft...it just would have turned out so much better if they had been not "won" quite so thoroughly.

Re:Give Bill a break (0, Troll)

cromar (1103585) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942844)

...acknowledge what Bill has done for Tech...

Oh, I do, I do. What a horrible world it would be with no Windows or DOS. Why... we'd all be using Macs and Linux and other OSs that don't crap their pants every 10 minutes. *Gasp* Oh the humanity!

Gates is a visionary (4, Insightful)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941720)

who missed the emergence of the Internet for consumers. He had to go back and add the Internet to his The Road Ahead book after the fact. He had to go back and add Internet support to his operating system after the fact.

This is the visionary who missed the digital media revolution, requiring burst.com and Apple to show him how to do it. In the past ten years of the digital media revolution, which stock price appreciated more, Microsoft's or Apple's?

Is Gates a visionary, or a monopolist? Gates' image and PR people want him to be viewed as the former. History will record him as the latter.

Re:Gates is a visionary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21941858)

Linux would be impossible without Microsoft as Microsoft is the owner of the platform called PC and Linux is just having a free hardware lunch here. So paradoxically Gates not Linus Torvalds is the real "father of Linux" ;-).

We also should remember about Microsoft Xenix which introduced F1-F2-F3 consoles switching and many other things that became standard on PC Unixes. The fact the Microsoft chose to kill it was very important as in no way a poor Finnish student who learned C while programming kernel can compete with Microsoft Xenix on PC. Linux filled the niche that Microsoft left. Look at http://www.softpanorama.org/People/Torvalds/index.shtml [softpanorama.org] for the real story...

I think the key role of Linux as a free Unix implementation is to keep other vendors in check including Microsoft and Apple and provide "free for all" OS that emulates best features of Microsoft and OS X. It might be far from being perfect but it plays a very important role.

Re:Gates is a visionary (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942274)

I remember back in the early eighties when Xenix was still a Microsoft product drooling over it but realizing I would never be able to afford the 1,000GBP or so it cost just to get the basic edition that didn't include so much as a C compiler.

I think GNU/Linux would have still succeeded even if Microsoft had continued to push Xenix and not decided to start the OS/2 and NT projects instead.

Re:Gates is a visionary (2, Interesting)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942548)

I'd say Gates was *neither*. He was a shrewd businessman who was able to recognize an opportunity and run with it, back in the 80's - and it paid off for him in spades.

The cries about him being a "monopolist" are somewhat misplaced, IMHO. Show me ANY C.E.O. of a successful, global business today who wouldn't want his/her company to achieve a similar market-share, if they could only figure out a way to do it! Yes, Microsoft made some questionable business deals, but again, I'd say that's "par for the course" in today's big businesses. I'm pretty confident you could find equally, if not MORE "evil" business dealings here or there with Monsanto, Xerox, General Electric, IBM, Cisco, Toyota, or yes, even Apple. You name the company. If they're very successful, then at least *somebody* in the inner workings has done something "corrupt" at some point in time. It's human nature.

On the other end of the spectrum, no, he hasn't been much of a "visionary" either. He correctly envisioned an America with "a PC on every desk", more or less. But beyond that, the claims of his "ability to predict the tech. future" is more marketing than reality. Everyone wants to think they're investing in a company that's "cutting edge" and committed to continuous improvements. This is especially key in the software industry, where essentially, you're paying to license the use of someone's idea/concept of making your computer perform a certain set of tasks. I didn't expect Gates to do much besides making very broad, generalized "predictions" at this keynote, and it looks like it played out just like I suspected.

Bill's last keynote? (1)

jvlb (636475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21941972)

Gosh, I knew he'd become irrelevant some time ago, but isn't a bit harsh to just drop him like that? Oh! Oh! You mean he's retiring! My bad, my bad . . . (tee hee, hee, heee).

Holy canoly Silverlight pegs the processor Batman! (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942700)

I was running the MES site at Microsoft under a virtual machine, and the task manager inside the VM was at 70-90% cpu usage running only the one firefox window! (as shown on a 3.2Ghz intel processor with 2GB of RAM running Ubuntu)

Bla, bla bla (0, Flamebait)

Tom (822) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942738)

In other words: Gates is still living in a dream world full of vaporware that he likes to talk about every now and then.

Thanks, but I much prefer Steve Jobs' talks, because they usually end with "available today". That, Bill, is the difference that matters. If your company would deliver even a fraction of what you publicly dream about... well, as it is your visions are on par with the flying cars we all still don't have.

Bill's last keynote (1)

webdev (605160) | more than 6 years ago | (#21942820)

It's too bad it's over. Bill making fun of his own nerd personality never got old. I could watch him pretend to play Guitar Hero for many more years. That was so funny. I wish the keynote was just Bill sitting there pretending to play a video game.
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