Bill Gates and Steve Jobs keynotes

I just finished watching Bill Gateskeynote at CES from last Sunday (I know, I should have been reviewing papers instead). I watched Steve Jobskeynote at Macworld from yesterday.

Wow! The geek in me cannot wait for all the things that have been announced. I love the style and interface of the iPhone. I am always jealous of the style and seamless integration of hardware and software Apple is able to deliver with its products. I guess they can do that well since they control both.

After watching Jobs‘ keynote, I wondered why Microsoft cannot deliver exciting products like Apple. Then I watched Gates‘ CES keynote and I got excited again about what my company is doing. Yes, we are not creating excitement (we are not ‘fun’) and that probably needs to change. However, the announced products/technologies are way more exciting than Apple‘s in the greater scheme of things (at least that’s what I think). This is not me just being a Microsoft employee; this is me just being a technology geek.

Yes, I love the iPhone because of its potential to revolutionize cell phones and make them more fun. For now, however, I am going to stick with the Windows Mobile platform. Apart from iPhone, though, I didn’t find anything else exciting in Jobs‘ keynote. On the other hand, the CES keynote had:

  • IPTV on the Xbox 360. Did you see the instant channel surfing with picture-in-picture functionality? That was cool.
  • Xbox Live on Windows!
  • The messaging about Vista is not bad. I like the common theme, the style. Finally! Some style in Windows. There were laptops in the video that looked really nice. I am looking forward to the launch for all the different designs that will be announced. I do hope there would be something to match the elegance of the MacBook. Vista looks good. I’ve been running it for months now and I love it.
  • Then there was DreamScene. Ok… Perhaps not the most useful feature for an operating system but still cool demonstration of clever engineering. I’ve been amongst the very few within MS beta testing it for a while now. It’s been running on my laptop and I don’t really notice it, performance-wise. I agree, though… nothing really really exciting here to improve one’s productivity.
  • The potential for the delivery of clever tools and technology through Vista Extras. I didn’t know about the GroupPhoto technology. It’s absolutely fantastic to see Microsoft Research technology being delivered to users around the world in this way.
  • I am looking forward to the Windows Home Server as well.
  • And then, it was Gates‘ home of the future. Isn’t it just great to have a team that can deliver the prototype and demo of your vision? I loved the use of RFID technology to locate and deliver information in the context of a users’ actions. Human-computer interaction research has been looking into such areas for some time now but it’s great to see a big company like Microsoft doing prototypes. I am sure there are folks considering the business potential of such technologies.

I hope I don’t sound like I have been braistormed or anything but, honestly, this is how I felt after having watched both videos. I was very impressed by the iPhone but I got a warmer feeling about all that Microsoft talked in whole. Apple‘s and Steve Jobs‘ delivery was stylish of course, as always. Microsoft needs to be more fun, stop using the boring long names for its products, introduce style, excite more. We certainly seem to have the technology.

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