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Appeared on: Monday, January 07, 2008
Bill Gates at CES

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates unofficially opened the world's largest consumer electronics tradeshow in Las Vegas on Sunday, heralding the onset of a new "digital decade."

In his last keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show, Gates lauded how computers and the Internet have become ubiquitous and predicted the coming ten years will deliver even greater technology changes.

"The first digital decade has been a great success," Gates told an overflow audience in a ballroom at the Venetian hotel and casino.

"This is just the beginning. There is nothing holding us back from going much faster and further in the second digital decade."

There are more than a billion personal computers in use in the world and more than 40 percent of people on the planet have mobile telephones, according to Gates.

The new digital decade will be increasingly "user-centric" and the trend is for media and entertainment to be software driven, Gates said.

Gates said high-definition video experiences "will be everywhere," from televisions to wall projections and even built into desks or tables.

People will roam in increasingly realist three-dimensional virtual worlds, tending to business, shopping and other aspects of daily life, he contends.

Electronics will be increasingly linked to the degree that people will eventually take for granted getting their data whenever and where ever they want, according to Gates.

While the first digital decade was marked by the keyboard and the computer mouse, the new decade will be marked by "natural user interfaces" such as touch screens and gesture controls, according to Gates.

Partnership With NBC Universal

NBC Universal and Microsoft will offer live and on-demand Internet broadcasting through an exclusive agreement where Microsoft and NBC will deliver NBCOlympics.com on MSN, the official U.S. online home of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Gates also said.

In the first "long-tail" Olympics, online viewers will have access to more than 3,000 hours of live and on-demand content so they can watch their favorite athlete or sport, regardless of whether the sport has seven fans or 7 million. NBCOlympics.com on MSN will be available free and powered by Microsoft Silverlight technology.


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