Bill Gates Keynote Address Opens CES 2002

Reprinted from a Consumer Electronics Association press release:

Microsoft Corporation Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates pre-opened the 2002 International CES – Your Source for Workstyle and Lifestyle Technology – with a dramatic presentation highlighting the role of software in defining the direction of electronics device design. The presentation focused on the current digital decade and the three key areas of product usage that shape consumers’ demand for new devices – on the go devices, the home experience and entertainment. Gates keynote encompassed several product areas showcased at CES – from electronic gamming and wireless to home theater and mobile audio to home information and networking.

Gates was introduced by Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) President and CEO Gary Shapiro. In his introduction, Shapiro described Microsoft as a company that epitomizes the spirit of CES, having begun small, but utilizing the trade show arena to grow.

He then described Gates with the Yiddish term, Mensch, meaning a person who does good deeds, and noted how not only has Microsoft changed the world and all of its citizens, but also how Bill and Melinda Gates personally have made tremendous contributions to other causes.

Gates began his presentation by describing the applicability of Moore’s and Metcalf’s Laws to the current digital decade, stating that, now more than ever, technologies will continue to get smaller, faster and cheaper and will all connect with each other. In the new era, said Gates, the success of any individual device will determine the success of other devices to which it connects.

He then illustrated some key attributes of technologies that are driving growth in the development of devices. Among these attributes were wireless connectivity, particularly WiFi, as integrated into Windows XP; trustworthy computing, or a sense of consumer confidence in the growth and adaptability of the products they buy; and integrated experiences, in which consumers are able to decide for themselves their level of interaction with content.

Gates described the current era as the digital decade, providing as evidence the continued growth in Internet usage, strong PC sales in the 4th quarter of 2001 and continually increasing sales and consumer interest in digital cameras and music players. This digital decade brings with it three different types of product usage that help to shape the market for new electronics devices. The presentation then focused on outlining each of those areas, and demonstrating the Microsoft technologies that meet consumers’ needs.

In the realm of on the go devices, Gates described the importance of smart devices, and stated his belief that in the future, devices without screens will become peripherals to screened devices. All the consumer has to do is pick the screen size that is appropriate for your needs.

In the home experience, he discussed the importance of extending the PC experience through the wireless network, and unveiled two new Microsoft technologies that will radically change the computing experience, Freestyle and Mira. Freestyle bypasses the traditional keyboard, and enables remote control of the PC. Mira is a smart monitor technology that allows the user to interface from anywhere they desire.

Finally, in terms of entertainment, Gates described how the Microsoft Windows Media division has made tremendous strides in compression and storage techniques, enabling consumers to download, store and playback virtually any size content. For the second year in a row, Microsoft made a major gamming announcement at CES, showing the soon-to-come XBOX online service. Microsoft’s XBOX division also demonstrated how WMA technology has helped them improve graphics and gameplay, finishing with a concept video.

After demonstrating the wide array of products, Gates concluded by stating they were only made possible by the software and traditional CE industries working together to build them. His statement of the new future in product design was made clear – breakthrough software running on great new hardware.

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