Greetings from Las Vegas! And what’s not to like about a Microsoft keynote, a surprise host, a non-traditional musical interlude and some great demos? The best way to capture the flavor and fun from the keynote is to watch the replay, but for those looking for highlights, here is my “CliffsNotes” version of what we said and announced.

Tonight, Steve Ballmer took the stage at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. We did it differently this year, surprising the crowd by having Ryan Seacrest interview Steve, host guests onstage for demos, and provide commentary and perspective along the way. Below, Microsoft CES Keynote host Ryan Seacrest checks out Steve's Windows Phone during the company’s opening keynote:

Tonight, Steve talked about Microsoft’s exciting line-up of consumer products, and about the work we’re doing to bring together all the technology consumers love – simply and magically. Whether it’s using Bing voice search on Xbox to quickly find the big game on live TV (you say it, Xbox finds it); or something as magical as changing the way your kids experience Sesame Street – going from watching the show to jumping into Elmo’s world with Kinect-enabled two-way TV.

A huge part of what we do is through our partners, and there was news throughout the day. First up, this Wednesday, Jan. 11, T-Mobile customers in the United States can buy the Lumia 710, Nokia’s first Windows Phone in the U.S. We are also excited about two new LTE phones: the Nokia Lumia 900 and the HTC Titan II, both on AT&T. We showed a range of new ultra-light, ultra-thin Windows 7 PCs that we’re bringing to market with our partners. We announced several pieces of news with Xbox, including a new partnership with NewsCorp to bring new apps for Xbox LIVE that will feature content from their leading broadcast, news and Web properties, including Fox Broadcasting, Fox News Channel, IGN Entertainment and The Wall Street Journal. We also announced that the new Kinect for Windows commercial program will be available on Feb. 1. Microsoft is taking Kinect for Windows beyond entertainment, already working with more than 200 partners, including United Health Group, Toyota, Telefonica, Mattel, American Express and more, in revolutionary new ways. Phew!

Visually, we brought the keynote together just as we’re bringing our products together, through the Metro style design application. As you can see across our devices (and through our booth for those here at the show), Metro delivers a beautiful, natural visual experience. People already love it on Windows Phone and Xbox, and soon Metro will come to Windows 8 PCs and tablets, too.

We always try to find the right balance at CES between the year ahead and the one just completed. 2011 is worth one more look back – we fired on all cylinders and the numbers show that consumers are excited about what we have to offer:

· Xbox 360 is first in console sales with more than 66 million worldwide, and Xbox LIVE is the biggest social entertainment network in the living room with nearly 40 million Xbox LIVE members.

· Over the last year, Kinect has exceeded everyone’s expectations with more than 18 million sensors sold.

· Windows Phone has more than 50,000 published apps and games in Marketplace – with an average of 300 more added each day.

· Windows 7 remains the fastest selling operating system in history, with more than 500 million Windows 7 licenses sold (that’s an average of seven every second).

· Bing has more than doubled market share since launch, and with our partnership with Yahoo, we power nearly 30 percent of the U.S. searches.

· Office 2010 is the fastest selling version of Office in the company’s history. We launched Office 365 last year, and it is already on track to be one of the fastest growing offers in Microsoft history. Our cloud productivity services (including Office 365, BPOS, Office Web Apps, and Live@edu) are being used by more than 80 million people worldwide.

· We acquired Skype last year and we’re focused on making it even better for the 200 million people who use 300 billion Skype voice and video minutes annually.

· Ford has shipped more than 4 million vehicles equipped with Ford Sync powered by Microsoft, and forecasts 9 million more on the road across the globe in the next three years.

Pretty good stuff, and the list goes on. I really do love to talk “by the numbers” --:) and we sure did deliver some big ones in 2011. And 2012? From here in Las Vegas, 2012 is looking pretty darn good too.

Posted by Frank X. Shaw
Corporate Vice President, Corporate Communications, Microsoft

Editor’s note – Jan. 10, 2012 – the original reference to Office 365 has been updated to reflect that 80 million users are using Microsoft’s cloud productivity services, including Office 365, BPOS, Office Web Apps, and Live@edu worldwide.