Microsoft in 2011 – it starts at CES

2011 could be a very significant year for Microsoft, the year Bing gives Google some serious competition, Windows Phone iterates and impresses to gain ground on the iPhone and Android, Microsoft finally makes a serious move into the connected TV space, and a Windows tablet emerges.  Or not, of course, but Microsoft has lots of balls in the air at the start of the new year, and we’ll get our first glimpse of what they have in store at CES (the Consumer Electronics Show).

msft-ces-2011_thumb News

It all starts with the Steve Ballmer keynote on Wednesday evening at 6:30 PM (PST GMT-7) from Las Vegas.  While we’re not attending, you can watch the live webcast at www.microsoft.com/ces, or from the Microsoft Facebook page, and of course we’ll have a full recap of the event’s activities.

So what should we expect?  News of a Windows Phone update, of course, and some sort of huzzah about new Windows Tablets, but there’s also recent speculation about Surface tablets, or a new Google/Apple TV competitor, or even… a Zune HD?

Beyond CES, 2011 will be a big year for Bing, the year it either starts making inroads on Google… or doesn’t, with the same being said for Windows Phone.  They’ll be fun to watch, although we doubt the endgame will be fully played out for either product at year’s end.

Microsoft will also be spending a lot of money advertising itself as a powerful player in the consumer space this year, but will those ad dollars gain Microsoft some traction as a “cool” company?  So far the “cool” still belongs to Apple and Google, but with the right new products (and those ad dollars) we could begin to see a shift in perception for Microsoft as a consumer company.

Less well known is what will transpire in the Windows Live world.  Will we see Wave 5?  Will Microsoft continue to push it’s Activity Stream, or will it cede to Facebook?  Will it finally make a deal with Twitter?  Will we see a real Windows Live Messenger client for Windows Phone?

Can’t wait to get this year started, beginning Wednesday night with Steve Ballmer!