Microsoft will have a bunch of stuff to show at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, but a rumored ZunePhone won't be one of them, according to sources familiar with the company's plans.
Instead, much of CEO Steve Ballmer's focus will be on talking about Windows 7 from a consumer perspective. Microsoft is pushing to have Windows 7 done in time for the holiday 2009 shopping season, so that means this CES is Ballmer's best stage to tout its benefits.
While the desktop operating system will be front and center, sources say to expect Ballmer to talk about how Windows is moving beyond the PC and into a world of PC, Web, and phone, a refrain we also heard a lot from Ray Ozzie at November's Professional Developers Conference, where the world also got its first good look at Windows 7.
On the phone front, Microsoft may not have a ZunePhone, but it is going ahead with several other strategies--pushing phone makers to develop phones based on Windows Mobile, developing Windows Live services for phones running a variety of operating systems as well as a number of new "premium mobile services" based on its Danger acquisition.
The company has also talked about extending its Zune service beyond the company's own dedicated player and mentioned the phone as a logical place to access the service. We may hear more about timing of this at CES, I'm told. In an October interview with CIO UK, Ballmer mentioned the possibility of accessing the Zune service on Windows Mobile phones.
The Xbox will certainly get its due as well during Ballmer's keynote speech and, as is typically the case, expect Microsoft to announce some new partnerships at the show. A funny video and celebrity guest are usually safe bets as well.
So that's what I've heard, but if tipsters know any more, I'm all ears.