Ballmer To Give Pre-Show Keynote Speech At CES

Given that Microsoft has used the CES keynote stage to launch its Xbox video game controller, Kinect motion detection technology and other products, word that Ballmer will again deliver a keynote speech is sure to generate speculation about what new product the CEO has up his sleeve.

Ballmer is scheduled to speak at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 9, in the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas, on the eve of the CES 2012 show. CES 2012 runs Jan. 10-13.

The CEA will announce the full line-up of CES 2012 keynote speakers over the next few months.

Microsoft is developing Windows 8, the next generation of its desktop operating system, and CES could be the official launch pad for that product, even though it's not expected to be generally available until later next year.

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The company is also developing versions of Windows 8 for tablet devices – those built by other manufacturers and possibly a tablet with the Microsoft brand – and CES would be a logical place for a coming-out party for those products.

In a keynote speech at this year's CES Ballmer showed off Windows running on a number of mobile devices. Microsoft also used CES to disclose the news that Windows 8 (although it wasn't called that at the time) would support the ARM system-on-a-chip architecture.