To commemorate the occasion, my ZDNet colleague Ed Bott and I will be "live" blogging the event. (I put "live" in quotation marks here, as neither of us will be in the keynote hall. Bott is at CES; I'm not. But we both figure blogging in real time will be more realistic if we aren't attempting to do so from inside.)
CEO Steve Ballmer's last CES keynote is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. PT/9:30 p.m. ET tonight. If you want to watch a live stream of the keynote, you can do so on Facebook or on Microsoft's Web site.
(I'm also going to attempt the ultimate feat of multitasking, and will be doing live commentary on TWiT tonight during the Ballmer keynote along with my Windows Weekly cohost Paul Thurrott and Chief TWiT Leo Laporte starting around the same time.)
There will some news tonight, but nothing of major proportions, I predict. For those of you who are STILL speculating that Microsoft is going to announce the beta of Windows 8 during Ballmer's remarks, don't hold your breath. Microsoft officials have said the Windows 8 beta, with an early release of the Win 8 app store, is late February. (Microsoft execs blogged about a few more particulars regarding the coming Windows 8 Store late last week.) And if you're waiting for the Softies to talk about the Tango or Apollo Windows Phone operating systems, I seriously doubt tonight's going to be your night.
I'm sure we'll hear lots about Kinect, Xbox, the new Nokia Lumia 900 (codenamed "Ace"), possibly some teases about Windows Phone's coming LTE support and maybe even see a Windows 8 demo or two -- minus information about the timing or any new features. I'm not sure if we'll hear more about the new Kinect sensors for Windows and/or the commercially-licensable software development kit for Kinect, but CES might not be a bad venue for those announcements. It also wouldn't be a bad time/place to announce that the new Surface 2.0 systems are now shipping.
Come back around 6:15 PT tonight and chime in with Bott and I here, as we comment on what Ballmer & Co. do and don't show and tell at CES 2012.