Microsoft's chairman Bill Gates hosted his annual Pre-CES Keynote speech Sunday evening at the Venetian Hotel. Members of the press began lining up for the Keynote 3 1/2 hours early.
We were fifth in line and were among the first to gain access to the ballroom.
After brief opening remarks by Gary Shapiro, the President and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, Bill Gates was welcomed on to the stage. Gates started his speech off by announcing that he will no longer be working at Microsoft full-time but will remain the Board Chairman. He continued to explain that after his last full day at Microsoft in mid-July, he will be working full-time for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which he and his wife founded in 2000 to help reduce inequities around the world. The 2008 CES is also the last year that Gates will be giving the Microsoft Pre-Show keynote speech.
Following this "two-week" notice, a hilarious video was shown that explained what Bill will be doing with all his free time. The video starred Gates and featured many celebrities like Jay-Z producing a Gates rap album, George Clooney refusing to play Bill in a movie and Jon Stewart trying to politely say "no" to Bill's request to be his co-anchor. The audience almost gave a standing ovation at the end of the video because it was a great way to say "goodbye". The thunderous applause was truly appreciated because Gates tried very hard to not become emotional and move right on to the Microsoft portion of the speech.