End of a Digital Era?

gates2With the usual fanfare, CES begins its week-long feeding frenzy with a kick-off keynote by Bill Gates. He has given this opening keynote at CES 11 times. It has become one of the portends of the technological strategy for the coming year and a rare glimpse into the thinking of one of the most influential figures of our time.

This year, however, is different. This is Bill’s last year giving the keynote. More importantly, this is Bill’s last year as Head Honcho of Microsoft. For those of us who have been part of this industry since the dark geekly days of DOS, this surely feels like the end of an era.

Bill and the Microsofties made light of the event with a comedic video of ‘Bill’s Last Day’. The video sported cameo appearances from a surprising number of A-list celebs and definitely helped prevent the mood from sinking into melancholy.

But even with the video and a host of new product demos, the message from Bill was clear. Microsoft is more than just one man. The cultural inertia that is Bill’s legacy will continue to drive Microsoft as a leading force in the technology industry for many years to come.

And who knows, maybe we will see him at the MS helm again in the future. It’s happened before, right Steve?