Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Virtual CES

As I mentioned in a previous post, I decided not travel to CES this year and so I had to be content with reading about it. As always, there was plenty of coverage like Dean Takahashi's collection of CES favorites.

But, the one thing I would have liked to have attended this year, was Bill Gates' farewell keynote. He has been part of the technology scene for so long and of CES since 1994, that it won't be quite the same without him. He is really a technology visionary and has made some pretty good technology forecasts, but there have been some misses too as the Mercury News pointed out last week. I have listened to him speak at WinHEC and other events too and he usually has something original to say.

He predicted the PC-TV convergence a little too early and attempted to make a Microsoft a part of the living room several times over the last decade and did not quite have the same success as Apple has had recently. You could probably say that Steve Jobs and Apple timed that one a little better. The Valley won that one. Way to go Cupertino! :-)

Its amazing that this rivalry has lasted well over two decades, covered multiple devices and technologies and that the whole world has benefited from the results, though not everyone would agree that the influence has been all positive. Certainly, Bill Gates leaves at the top of his game. Even the die hard Mac fans at 9to5mac.com are fascinated by him and have posted his farewell video at CES. In recent years he has been prone to show these videos mocking himself at his keynotes. This final one from this year's CES is indeed pretty funny. Whether you like him or not, he did change the technology industry and I am sure he will do the same in whatever he attempts next.


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