Microsoft CEO crashes Qualcomm keynote at CES

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer joined the stage with Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs to talk up Microsoft's new mobile products powered by the chipmakers Snapdragon processors.

Marguerite Reardon Former senior reporter
Marguerite Reardon started as a CNET News reporter in 2004, covering cellphone services, broadband, citywide Wi-Fi, the Net neutrality debate and the consolidation of the phone companies.
Marguerite Reardon
2 min read
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer takes the stage at CES 2013 with Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs. CNET/James Martin

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer just can't stay away from the limelight at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Microsoft may have given up its coveted keynote spot on the eve of the Consumer Electronics Show, but that didn't stop Ballmer from making a cameo appearance during Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs' keynote address.

Ballmer stole a few moments of Jacobs' keynote to talk up Microsoft's new Windows RT and Windows 8 Phone products. Ballmer called the Windows products "stunning" additions to Microsoft's line-up. He showed off two of the newest Windows RT devices, the Samsung ATIV and Dell XPS. Both are powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors.

Ballmer said that these devices are unique for how they bring together the best of both worlds: tablet and PC. They offer touch and keyboard, which he says makes them perfect for work and play.

Microsoft has put a lot of time, money, and effort promoting the new Windows RT concept. But the company's device partners have been slow to adopt the new OS, mainly because Microsoft has tried to keep tight control of it.

There is no question that Microsoft is playing catch up to the Apple iPad and the Google Android tablets. And what is a tablet without apps. Ballmer talked up the fact that Microsoft has been catching up in this area. He said that the company now has four-times the number of apps for these devices as it had when it launched. In fact, he said just 10,000 new apps were added just last month. Some of these apps include, the travel app from Expedia, news apps from Huffington Post, and an e-book app like Barnes and Noble's Nook.

Ballmer also showed off how the tablets can easily convert to a lightweight laptop by simply snapping on a keyboard.

Ballmer also showed off some of the new Windows Phone 8 devices, including the Nokia Lumia and HTC Windows Phone 8X. He said that sales have gained momentum.

"The new Windows Phones are incredible," he said. "In November, we reported that sales were four times greater than the same time last year, and during the week of Christmas, we sold five times more phones than the same week last year."

Qualcomm's Jacobs pointed out that these phones are also powered by Snapdragon processors. And the execs talked up the partnership the companies have forged in taking Microsoft's products mobile.

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