LAS VEGAS--Microsoft has sung its CES swan song.
The company announced plans last month to walk away from the Consumer Electronics Show after a nearly two-decade involvement with the confab and the organization behind it.
That made tonight's keynote address from Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer the beginning of the end. Microsoft didn't make any major announcements (other than the fact that Kinect is coming to Windows on February 1). But then, the company has said the timing of the annual confab doesn't generally align with its product news milestones, and that's the key reason it's bailing on the show.
Microsoft talked up Windows Phone (its mobile phone operating system that's been getting some praise from the tech press), gave a look at some of the upcoming trim ultrabook computers running Windows 7, demoed some previously disclosed features of Windows 8 (which should debut toward the end of 2012), and touted its tile-based Metro interface.
Ballmer and Microsoft also used the forum to discuss the momentum that its Xbox video game console--the top selling console in the United States--continues to gain. One demo dealt with watching TV on the Xbox, and showed how--thanks to some help from the Kinect interface--watching "Sesame Street" could be an interactive experience. The Xbox and Kinect use the console's camera to put viewers into the episode, and to let them interact with things on the screen--as if they were on a virtual playground.
You can read a summary of the keynote by CNET's Roger Cheng here, and you can check out the full live blog, complete with photos, in the ScribbleLive module below.
Editors' note: The original, barebones version of this story was posted January 8 at 2:55 p.m. PT.