I spent most of the first day at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on January 8 doing what you'd expect from a full-time Microsoft watcher: Meeting with Microsoft execs under the Microsoft press tent; touring the Vista hardware showcase; and wading through the crowds in the giant Microsoft booth on the show floor.
In addition to getting to check out protoypes of the new Windows Home Server reference systems, I had a chance to chat with officials on the Vista, Windows Mobile, Windows Live and Smart Personal Object Technology (SPOT) teams.
Shanen Boettcher, general manager of Windows product management, reminded me that 70 to 80 percent of new PCs (caveat: from major U.S. vendors) preloaded with a version of Windows are currently preloaded with Windows Media Center Edition. Boettcher said he expects that trend to continue with Vista, meaning that the vast majority of new PCs preloaded with Vista will ship with Vista Home Premium or Vista Ultimate.
The Windows Mobile team had no new news to share -- just a reiteration that the first Windows Mobile "Crossbow" devices should hit in the second half of 2007.
Ditto with the Windows Live team: No new news at CES. I did, however, get to see Windows Live Search's Mrs. Dewey in the flesh -- but fully clothed -- in the Windows Live booth.
The SPOT team is still alive and kicking. Again, not much new news to share at CES. But team member Colin Miller, director of the .Net Mobile Framework, explained to me that the unit is doing more than simply cutting deals with embedded device makers to feature the SPOT operating system inside their offerings. The SPOT team also is working on what it expects to be the eventual successor to Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) -- Web services for devices -- said Miller.
My favorite quote of CES Day 1: "The Bellagio just made my day! There's even Ethernet in the bathroom!" -- one of the bloggers over at the PodTech/Seagate Bloghaus.