"Am I ready to take my shirt off?" Gates asks at one point. "Not yet," responds McConaughey, setting off a roar of laughter among the legions of geeks.
There were many announcements, specifically from Microsoft's entertainment division. The company is teaming with NBC to broadcast the entirety of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. In a video played during the speech, Bob Costas called the project "the most ambitious and comprehensive broadband video coverage of any event ever." All told, Microsoft will offer over 3,000 hours of video on the Olympics. "Events like this in broadcast format just aren't as satisfying," Gates added.
Microsoft also announced partnerships with ABC and Disney that will allow consumers to use the live functionality on their Xbox 360s to download episodes of shows like Desperate Housewives and Hannah Montana for play on their TVs. A similar collaboration with MGM will allow access to movies like Terminator, Silence of the Lambs and Legally Blonde. Finally, an alliance with TNT will allow viewers to customize their experience while watching NASCAR races, enabling them to follow their favorite drivers, just as joining up with cable news network CNN will add a new dimension to election coverage.
Other topics discussed were Zune Social, a MySpace-like network centered around Microsoft's digital music player, the Zune. According to the company, the newest version of Zune has done well and the device "is becoming a clear alternative to the iPod."
Toward the end of the presentation, Gates, accompanied by Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's entertainment and devices division, demonstrated a technology of the future called software camera acquisition that would enable a user with a cell phone to identify people in the vicinity, alert them to reservations at a restaurant and see what's going on in other locations simply by pointing the device at a target. In addition, using the same gadget, Gates was able to browse through video, image and document histories of his past keynote addresses. Based on the size of the device Gates was holding—it looked more like a shoe box than a cell phone—this technology, fresh out of the lab, is far from being realized.
To end, Bach challenged Gates to a Guitar Hero–duel, only to bring out Kelly Law-One, a certified expert at the video game, who rattled off a perfect interpretation of the Guns 'n Roses hit "Welcome to the Jungle." But, never to be outdone, Gates had a ringer of his own, as Slash, the original Guns 'n Roses guitarist materialized on stage to play the riffs he himself had written.
With the chairman declared the winner amidst a curtain of fog, the Gates era, at least as a CES keynote speaker, came to a close—and the second digital decade began.