Microsoft Unveils Windows Updates, New Xbox Games

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Consumer Electronics Show began yesterday in Las Vegas, and technology columnist Rob Pegoraro is reporting on the action on's Faster Forward blog. Here are some excerpts from reports on the keynote address.

6:35 p.m. PST: [Microsoft chief executive Steve] Ballmer notes how [Bill] Gates has moved on to his philanthropic efforts (which draws some applause) and then notes some of the advice he's gotten -- in the form of IMs on the screen behind him from various people. E.g., Yahoo founder Jerry Yang's "Why do you keep ignoring my friend request on Facebook?"

6:50 p.m.: In case anybody's curious, Ballmer is wearing brown or dark-gray slacks and a burgundy sweater over a button-down shirt.

6:51 p.m.: Talking about Windows 7: "We are on track to deliver the best version of Windows 7 ever." Says it should boot faster, run longer on a charge and provide better multimedia capabilities. And today, he says, Microsoft is releasing the beta version of Windows 7 to its developers; on Friday, it will be available to anybody who wants to download a copy.

6:53 p.m.: Now talking about Windows Live, Microsoft's package of Web services: new Windows Live Essentials desktop software; a partnership with Facebook that lets Live users sync Facebook updates to Live and vice versa; Dell agreeing to install Windows Live Essentials on its computers.

6:57 p.m.: Next up, Microsoft's mobile-phone efforts. Verizon Wireless has agreed to bundle Microsoft's Live Search on its Web-capable phones.

7:04 p.m.: . . . In other news, I'm pretty sure that the phrase "Windows Vista" has yet to escape anybody's lips on the stage.

7:16 p.m.: Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's entertainment and devices division, has come up on stage. He's talking about a new version of the Sync software that runs in some Ford vehicles, now giving an update on the Zune player.

7:32 p.m.: Bach describes a new Xbox title called Kodu that will let kids create their own games, then publish them on Xbox Live. A kid, Sparrow, comes on stage to show off the game she created in Kodu; it looks like a fairy-tale-ish version of SimCity with some really large glowing mushrooms.

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