Ballmer to Keynote CES 2012, Expect Windows 8 to Come into Focus

2012 will be the fourth year in which Microsoft’s Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer will deliver the opening keynote address at CES, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) confirmed earlier today.

The 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is scheduled to take place between January 10-13, 2012, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

As was the case for the past three years, the preshow keynote address will involve Microsoft’s CEO taking the stage ahead of the actual debut of the event.

Ballmer’s first gig at CES was back in 2009 when he was accompanied by Entertainment and Devices Division President Robbie Bach, which lest the Redmond company in 2010.

“We are pleased to welcome Microsoft back to the CES keynote stage,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CEA.

“From mobile to desktop to gaming and beyond, Microsoft has a significant impact on all aspects of the consumer technology industry, and Steve Ballmer's keynote is a great way to kick off the exciting 2012 International CES. We are excited to hear Microsoft’s latest initiatives and Ballmer’s vision for where consumer technology is heading.”

In 2010 and 2011, Ballmer presented the CES keynote alone, and most likely this will also happen next year.

Ballmer inherited the CES keynote tradition from Microsoft co-founder and Chairman Bill Gates. 2008 was the last year when Gates greeted the CES crowd with the opening keynote, being replaced by Ballmer the following year.

So far, CEA shared only the following details about Ballmer’s CES 2012 agenda:

“Ballmer’s preshow keynote address is slated for 6:30 p.m., Monday, January 9, in The Venetian. Microsoft has used the CES keynote stage in previous years to unveil innovative new products, including the original Xbox and Avatar Kinect.”

I for one expect Ballmer to focus heavily on Windows 8, the next major iteration of Windows during the CES 2012 keynote, especially in relation to emerging hardware and next generation form factors.

According to revised rumors about Windows 8’s development process, a Beta could be provided at the BUILD conference in September, while the Release Candidate (RC) is reportedly planned for early 2012, possibly January, which would make CES 2012 an excellent opportunity to at least discuss it, if not actually release the development milestone.

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