by Shane O'Neill

Ballmer Crashes CES 2013 Keynote to Tell Us What We Already Know

Jan 08, 20132 mins
Computers and PeripheralsLaptopsMobile

As the CES 2013 keynote surprise guest, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer gave a redundant Windows 8 sales pitch, but it still stood as a reminder of the diverse hardware behind the new OS. Getting people to buy these devices, however, remains the missing link.

Apparently Microsoft hasn’t completely closed the door on CES. Last night CEO Steve Ballmer ran — literally ran — on stage during the keynote session that he owned for many years.

He joined Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs to beat the big drum for Windows 8 and Windows RT devices that run Qualcomm’s Snapdragon microprocessors.

Ballmer’s unrelenting enthusiasm can be fun to watch even when you know most of it is just bluster. At yesterday’s keynote, Ballmer was at full force gale as he pitched Windows RT tablets and Windows Phone 8 handsets. Check out the video below courtesy of GeekWire.

Ballmer was also sure to mention that the amount of apps in the Windows Store has quadrupled since Windows 8 launched on Oct. 26 (CNN and Twitter are on the way people!) and to plug that Windows RT tablets all come Office 2013 built in (though it’s not the complete version of Office 2013 you’ll get on fully-baked Windows 8 devices, i.e. no Outlook).

Ballmer may have stole the show, but it was still a cringe-worthy cameo. I’m not sure which was more uncomfortable: Watching two corporate CEOs awkwardly try to be buddies or watching Ballmer trying to sell – with a vague desperation in his voice and the same tired sales pitch — an operating system that shipped months ago and is already advertised almost everywhere you turn. Windows 8 brings together touch on a device for work AND play. Ok we get it!

Yet despite tepid sales numbers so far for Surface and other Windows 8 and Windows RT devices, there is a formidable army of hardware available and/or waiting in the wings. Ballmer showcased the sleek Samsung ATIV and Dell XPS for Windows RT last night and it’s pretty clear that even with the slow start Microsoft and partners are hell-bent on making this thing called Windows 8 work.

Below are some more soldiers in Windows 8 hardware army, including ultrabooks and hybrids from Asus, Sony, Dell and Toshiba.