Ballmer and Seacrest

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Ballmer and Seacrest

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer took the stage Jan. 9 for what probably will be his last keynote address at CES. Television personality Ryan Seacrest engaged him in a question-and-answer session about various Microsoft products such as Windows 8.

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Metro

As the unifying theme of his speech, Ballmer talked about the "Metro" design aesthetic that increasingly unites Microsoft's properties, referring to it as a "star attraction" across "all the user experiences" offered by his company.

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Windows Phone

"I'm really excited and upbeat about where we are," Ballmer said about Microsoft's Windows Phone. "If you take a look at it, the other phones all make the sea of icons, the sea of applications. ... What we've really done with windows phone is have a better way."

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Launch Pad

Microsoft and its partners are using CES as a platform to essentially reintroduce Windows Phone to a broad audience. Although the mobile software platform attracted some solid critical reviews following its initial release in late 2010, by summer even Ballmer acknowledged that Windows Phone devices were selling poorly.

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Nokia and Others

Manufacturing partners such as Nokia and HTC have committed to building a new generation of Windows Phones, with specs matching those of high-end rivals such as Apple's iPhone and the premium Android smartphones.

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Windows 8

Ballmer and his fellow Microsoft executives also offered some views on Windows 8, which will almost certainly make its marketplace debut later in 2012.

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Windows Store

In keeping with Microsoft's intention to make Windows 8 an operating system for both traditional PCs and tablets, Windows 8 will include features such as an app store.

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Metro, Again

The Metro aesthetic is a heavy component of Windows 8.

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Tablet

Here is a look at Windows 8 on a tablet.

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Ultrabooks

Ballmer and company also touted "ultrabooks," which are ubiquitous at this year's CES. Ultrabooks are being pushed aggressively by Intel, which is seeking a way to make its presence more deeply felt in the mobile segment.

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