Steve Ballmer promised big developments for the Windows Phone this year. (JASON DECROW VIA BLOOMBERG)

“Windows is the backbone product of Microsoft,” he said in a keynote speech. “Windows PCs, Windows Phones, Windows slates. Windows Windows Windows Windows Windows.”

In addition to reiterating this point, Ballmer also showed off XBox Live TV voice controls slated to come before the holidays, talked a bit about the Windows Phone, defended the company’s acquisition of Skype and said that Microsoft will continue its push into the cloud.

The Windows Phone hasn’t hit its stride yet, Ballmer said in his remarks, but added that it’s been a great year for the platform and promised significant progress in the coming year.

There was little in this keynote that wasn’t already known, but Windows 8 enthusiasts have something to look forward to: Windows marketing head Tami Reller said that the next Windows 8 announcement will be at the company’s BUILD conference this November.

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