CES: Microsoft's Ballmer Touts Convergence

In first CES keynote, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer sees connecting screens as growth opportunity in spite of recession

CES '09: Complete Coverage from Broadcasting & Cable

Las Vegas -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, in his first CES keynote, said one of the biggest areas of opportunity for the consumer-electronics industry -- even given the current economic recession -- is to converge the capabilities of PCs, phones and TVs.

“In the future you will be able to connect to information and people you care about instantly, across any of those screens,” Ballmer said, delivering the trade show’s lead-off address Wednesday evening.

The TV has the most potential for evolution as an Internet-connected platform, according to Ballmer. “For more than 60 years the TV has been at the center of the family entertainment experience,” he said. “But the capabilities have largely remained the same.”

As TVs become more networked over the next few years, “the boundary between the TV and the PC will dissolve,” Ballmer said. 

Of course, tech pundits and executives have long predicted the convergence of televisions with PCs -- with no significant breakthrough that has bridged those two distinct worlds, yet.

Ballmer said HDTV displays will become cheaper, lighter and more portable, presenting a significant opportunity to link those into a broader set of information and applications: “Screens and displays will literally be everywhere.”
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