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Ends 15 year run of keynote addresses with few big announcements but dates Windows 8 beta arrival.

CES 2012: Microsoft delivers final CES keynote

During the CES 2012 Microsoft keynote address, CEO Steve Ballmer shied away from big announcements, selling up the firm’s Windows Phone initiative and revealing that a beta version of Windows 8 would appear in late February.

In delivering the last of 15 straight keynote addresses for the CES show in Las Vegas, Ballmer drew attention to the new Nokia Lumia 800 Windows Phone going on sale in the US, and announced TV content deals for the Xbox platform.

Ballmer also revealed a Windows version of the Kinnect sensor, something Microsoft had steadfastly refused to do until home brew hackers began to hack the Kinnect Xbox motion hardware to work with Windows unofficially.

The company unsurprisingly also focused on the upcoming Windows 8 which is expected to appear at the end of the year. Ballmer also revealed the availability for the first beta version, towards the end of February.

This year’s CES will be the last that Microsoft presents the keynote address and exhibits, instead opting to go for their own events in the future. The relatively low profile keynote might be a way to begin to downplay the importance of CES to the software giant.

Consumer Electronics Association boss Gary Shapiro described the forthcoming Microsoft absence from CES as a ‘break’, adding that "I would be shocked if a Microsoft leader does not come back to CES in the near future."

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