Robbie Bach: International CTIA Wireless 2009

Remarks by Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft’s Entertainment &Devices Division, about netbooks, Windows Mobile 6.5, and new experiences in mobile computing.
International CTIA Wireless 2009
Las Vegas, Nev.
April 2, 2009

ROBBIE BACH: Thanks, Steve.

Good morning everybody. When I come to one of these industry tradeshows, like CTIA, you’ll always hear a lot about the technology. You’ll hear, today we’ve heard about WiMAX, Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, LTE, all of which are very important, and are sort of the fundamental building blocks for what people are going to do with technology going forward.

But today I want to turn that inside out a little bit, I want to talk more about the experiences that come from that technology. We think of this as talking about connected experiences, and the way those experiences can deliver great value to our customers.

Now the first thing, when I think about connected experiences is, I think about the screens that people are going to experience them on. And we think the world in the future is going to have three very important screens, certainly the PC, the television, and increasingly important now the mobile phone. And those three screens are going to be connected through a set of cloud-based services. We think of this sometimes as, you know, the three screens and a cloud scenario. And the whole idea, the fact that there’s three screens and a cloud isn’t important. What is important is that our customers can get the services, and products, and capabilities they want delivered to whatever device, and whatever screen they want, whenever they want. That’s the critical thing that we’re trying to build. Obviously, I think at Microsoft we’re very well positioned with a set of capabilities to be able to deliver that.

Now the place I want to start today is, I want to start today talking about the PC. And if you had asked a few years ago what would be exciting in the PC space, I don’t think many people would have said netbook PCs. This is a relatively new phenomenon, but the growth has been surprising, and very strong. And certainly when you think abut the economy, that has had an impact on people’s desire to be more efficient with their money, and to buy something that is a full PC, enables them to do all the things they want to do, but is less expensive for them to own.

It’s also the case that these machines are used often as second machines, in mobile scenarios where people want to roam, want to surf, they want to do IM, there are really some incredible designs, and very exciting and powerful. For us at Microsoft, these have been a bright spot in terms of sales, in terms of the ongoing momentum in this category, and a little over 90 percent of the netbook PCs that are shipping now run Windows. So we see this as a developing opportunity. And I think it’s also a developing opportunity, importantly, for this industry, because one of the things we’ve seen is that many of our operator partners have now taken on the idea that they can sell these netbook PCs in many ways much like they do phones, because almost all of these netbook PCs are connected. They’re all designed for that connected scenario. And so we’re seeing more engagement at retail around that topic. If you look just in the UK as an example, and you look at the netbook PC category, the No. 1 retailer for netbook PCs is Car Phone Warehouse. It’s a very interesting trend, and a very big shift.

In the U.S., all of the U.S. operators are starting to offer these PCs at retail. They’re choosing to offer them with Windows, and in many cases they’re choosing to subsidize them just like they would a phone device. So it’s a very interesting blend between what’s happening in the connected mobile phone, and in the connected PC. By 2012, our estimate is that about a third of these netbook PCs will be sold by mobile operators. It’s a very powerful trend.

The other thing that’s exciting for me is that the story for netbook PCs gets even better when we ship Windows 7. Windows 7 will have a smaller footprint, faster boot time, higher security, and much stronger networking capabilities with 3G built in thanks to chips from people like Qualcomm, Ericsson and others. So you are going to see these machines become full-fledged PCs in a very connected world.

Now when you think about Windows 7 itself, I’m very excited about this as a product. I use it myself. It’s tremendously stable. It’s faster. It’s easier to use. My every day tasks have gotten much simpler. And really what people want with their PC is, they want those every day tasks easier. They want the machine to do what they want, and to make it work simply. And they want it to learn and do more advanced complex tasks in a very easy way.

Today what I want to do is, I want to show you an example of one of those things that you might have thought of as a little bit more of a complex task, but becomes much easier going forward. So the idea here is, 3G mobile broadband support built into the PC on Windows 7, and you get to see how exciting that experience can be. So let me welcome Gian Wilson on stage. He’s going to take us on a quick demo of these capabilities.

GIAN WILSON: Thanks very much, Robbie.

Netbook PCs are clearly one of the hottest trends in the PC market today, and we see them as a very capable but low-cost machine. Here I have the new HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam edition, and this was named after the designer, Vivienne Tam, a New York City fashion designer, who helped to design it.

Now, there are two things that you’ll notice about this device. It’s incredibly small. And it’s a gorgeous PC. It’s really, really well-designed. One of the things that I really like about it is that it has the new Qualcomm Gobi 3G module embedded. There is no clunky USB dongle required for me to connect to the Internet. All that I need to do as a customer is plug in my 3G sim card, and activate my mobile broadband.

Now I’m going to go over to another small PC that we have here. This is the ASUS Netbook, and it’s connected to the project so you can see exactly what I’m doing. Now, you’ll notice that with Windows 7 we’ve included a native connection manager, so that customers can have a consistent user experience when they’re connecting to the Internet. I’m going to launch the wireless application tray, and you’ll see that we’re connected to AT&T’s 3G network. The other thing that you’ll notice is that we have access to all of the other wireless networks that are available here at CTIA.

Now we wanted to make this super easy. One click, you can see all of the wireless networks that are available. Two clicks, and you can connect. If you think back to Windows XP, what Windows XP did to propel the ubiquity of Wi-Fi, Windows 7 is going to do for 3G.

Now we’ve done a lot of work in terms of implementing drivers, and plumbing into Windows 7 that makes it really, really easy for ISVs to create value-added applications, and not have to think about plumbing. This is the plumbing that we have integrated into Windows 7, and we feel that by implementing mobile broadband that it makes it easier and simpler for our customers to have anywhere, anytime Internet access, and we all know what the power and the robustness of 3G looks like.

So exactly what does this mean? What does this look like for our end customer? So let’s take a look. I have Internet Explorer 8 loaded, and I have Netflix application loaded into the window. And the great thing about Netflix is, it feeds my need for the desire for movies and TV shows. And one of my favorite TV shows is “Heroes,” and I have an episode loaded up here.

Now I’m going to start playing it and, again, this is over 3G. And you’ll notice the great sound, and the high-quality video I was able to get over the network. Now the great thing about this is, because I’m an Xbox Live Gold Member, I can pause this, go home, and load up the exact same episode on my Xbox 360, and have it continue playing exactly where I left off. And if I have Netflix Mobile available on my Windows phone, I can sort and arrange my queue while I’m on the go.

Now, we haven’t stopped there. In Windows 7 we’ve added a lot of great applications, including Windows Media Center, and that turns my notebook PC into a portable DVR. I can watch television programs while I’m at home, and then take them on the go recorded, and watch them whenever I like. With a simple download of Windows Live, I can share photos over the Internet, I can have conversations with my family and friends over IM, and I can check my e-mail from anywhere. This is what our customers asked for, and this is what Windows 7 delivers, your PC simplified.

ROBBIE BACH: Thanks, Gian. Thanks very much. (Applause.)

So what you see there is, again, a very simple application, a very simple approach, and something that’s easy for people to do, and easy for people to do in a straightforward way.

Now, for us the concept of Windows on the PC and Windows on phones is more than just about the capability and the functionality. And, in fact, making an experience great also includes the brand of that experience. And so in Microsoft we’ve been spending more time really trying to communicate the value of Windows in that brand, and you’ve seen a series of advertisements from us that have really tried to celebrate the use of the PC a little bit more, a little bit lighter, a little bit more humorous, but really try to focus on real people doing real things. We’re also expanding the way we work with retail, with Windows gurus in stores, and those Windows gurus will be trained to sell Windows phones as well. And as Gian said, the idea that a Windows PC, a Windows phone, and our Windows Live Service will create those connected experiences that I talked about is a very powerful idea.

So I wanted to take just a quick moment to show you one of these ads. You’ll get an idea of the type of work we’re doing, and the direction we’re headed. Some of you saw the ad in the bottom left-hand corner here, this is 4-year-old Kylie, who is using Windows Live to edit a digital photo. The latest of these is the ad in the upper left-hand corner, talking about the experience of buying a PC, and if you think about the economy and where we are today, and the idea that people want choice, I think this will tell you a lot about the direction we’re going. So let’s roll that video.

(Video segment.)

So this brings us really to the point of the strategy for Microsoft across Windows PCs and Windows phones. And the whole idea here is an approach around choice, and an approach around giving people and customers the ability to choose the experience they want, whether they want something that’s great at e-mail, they want something that’s got a touch-screen experience, they want something that has a keyboard on it, they want something that’s a slider, they want something that’s a slab, whatever form factor, experience, and functionality they want, we want to be able to provide that experience. Again, whether it’s on a PC with multiple different form factors, as Gian showed us, or whether it’s on the phone.

And so Windows phones are a very natural extension of the work we’ve done on Windows, and the work we’re doing on Windows Live. And you will see a significant amount of marketing along the lines of what you just saw for Windows as we move into the Windows phone area.

Now at Mobile World Congress, we unveiled Windows Mobile 6.5, the start of our Windows phones. And, again, this is really about delivering an amazing experience. It’s not just about the hardware, it’s not just about the home screen, it’s about the full set of software and service experiences you can get across the set of phones. So what I would like to do, I’m going to show you a short video that introduces that, and then I’m going o bring Gian back on stage in a few moments to actually take you through Windows Mobile 6.5, so let’s roll that video.

(Video segment.)

Now since that announcement at Mobile World Congress, we’ve had tremendous support in the industry, both on the OEM side, and from operators. In the U.S., Windows phones have had support from operators historically. We expect all the major operators to continue to support Windows phones going forward. In fact, by this fall, when Windows Mobile 6.5 releases, we’ll have over 10 phones available in the U.S. alone, and you’ll see that number continue to grow.

So we’re very excited about the momentum we have with this product, and to actually take and show you through it, let’s bring Gian back on stage, and he’ll give you a demo of Windows Mobile 6.5.

GIAN WILSON: Hello again. So one of the things that we’ve learned is that when your phone is in your pocket, and it’s buzzing and it’s beeping away, people don’t want to have to take it out, unlock it, and dig around into various programs to figure out exactly what needs their attention. The other thing that we’ve realized is that people are starting to use their phone as their timepiece. They’re not really wearing watches anymore, and if they are, it’s probably just for a fashion statement. So we’ve taken all of that into consideration, and we’ve come up with a brand new lock screen.

The first thing that you’ll notice is that front and center, prominently displayed on the screen, I have the date and the time. Right below that, I have my next calendar appointment. I know where I’m supposed to be, what time I need to get there, and exactly what I’m going to be dealing with when I do arrive. And then right at the top of the screen, you’ll see we have an unlock icon.

Now this isn’t any regular unlock icon, because you’ll notice there’s a number associated with it, and that number tells me exactly how many alerts need my immediate attention. If I tap it just slightly, you’ll see it expands beautifully to let me know exactly what I really need to deal with. I have a new voice mail, I have a missed call, I have a text message, and I have an unread e-mail. Now, the great thing about this screen is that it allows me to unlock the phone directly into any one of these experiences, cutting down the number of steps that it takes me to get to the information that’s important to me.

So I’m going to go ahead and check out e-mail. And as I slide the e-mail unlock you’ll see that the phone unlocks directly into my unread e-mail message. If I had multiple e-mail messages it would take me to my mail folder, and then I could go and sort and choose which message I want to open.

Now you’ll notice that the entire user interface is very touch friendly. So with just a gesture I can go through all of the messages that are in my inbox. And if I go back out of my inbox you’ll see again with this same gesturing I can go through my mail accounts. Things go from my Outlook e-mail to my Hotmail, to my text messages, and right back to my Outlook e-mail.

Now it looks like I’ve received a message on MSN Live Messenger. So I’m going to go ahead and I’m going to check that out. Now I’ve received a message from my girlfriend’s brother John. He wants to know exactly how I’m doing in Las Vegas, and quite honest he’s probably checking up on me. So I’m going to tell him I’m just fine.

Now, the great thing about Windows Live Messenger on my phone is that it allows me to keep in contact with my family and friends and my colleagues no matter where they are, or what device they’re on. They can be on their Xbox 360, as you can see that John is. They can be on their Windows phone just like me, or they can be on their Windows PC. OK. John is telling me that today is my girlfriend’s birthday. Hold on.

OK. We may have a problem. But you know what, this allows me to show you one of the other great features that I like about my Windows phone, and Windows Live Messenger on my Windows phone, and that’s the ability to send voice clips. It’s always a lot more convenient to send voice clips than typing up a message. So I’m just going to do a little bit of damage control here. Hey, honey, happy birthday. And I’m going to send that message right over, and you’ll see really quickly I’m going to get that message – hey, honey, happy birthday. So that should tide me over for just a little while.

Before I get myself in any more trouble I should probably check my calendar and see if it’s today or tomorrow, if she’s just testing me. Now, I’m not the most organized person in the world and that is why I love the “Today” screen on my Windows phone. It puts all of the information that is important for me on one very easy to navigate screen. If I go to the top, you’ll see I have access to the photos. Here are some photos that I’ve taken since I’ve been in Las Vegas. I can also access my phone, things like my text messages, my e-mail, and even my calendar. And with just a couple of slides I can go through my entire day. I can see all of the meetings that I have today, and tomorrow, and her birthday is tomorrow.

OK, so the bad news here is that my girlfriend is now acutely aware that I had no idea when her birthday is. But the good news is I still have some time to get her a great gift. Now things like this happen from time to time, and that’s why it’s important for me to be able to access Web pages on my phone the exact same way that I would do on my PC. And now with Internet Explorer Mobile on Windows Mobile, I can do just that, because we’ve taken the browser from the PC and we’ve put it on the phone.

And as the page loads here, the first thing that you’ll notice is that it loads in full screen mode, and it gives me full access to the entire screen real estate. And if I just touch the screen once you’ll see that the address bar and the navigation bar, they just fade away, and they give me full access to the screen real estate. If I double tap I can zoom in and really get to a piece of information that I’m interested in, and then further to that I can pan around the screen and really read any other piece of information that I’m interested in. And I won’t ever get lost, because if you notice in the bottom right hand corner I have a little orientation map that keeps me oriented on the page. Now if I want to zoom in a little bit more, I can launch our additional zoom slider to get to that perfect level. And I can actually zoom in to whatever additional level that I want.

Now if I want to have a girlfriend by the time I get back home I probably should get her a great gift while I’m out here. And I don’t think you can go wrong with jewelry. And as I said, these kind of things happen to me from time to time, so in my favorites I have a couple of Web sites that have helped me out in a pinch, like E-cards, and flowers, and jewelry Web sites. And I’m going to pull up a Web site of a friend that I have in the jewelry business. But, before I show you that Web site on the phone, I want to show it to you on the PC.

The thing that I want you to note here is that this Web site has used Flash to implement a gallery that displays all of the great jewelry that they have available in their store. It’s important to note that this is what the Web site’s designer decided to use. He felt Flash would be the best implementation of this gallery display.

Now just because I’m using my mobile phone to access this Web site, it doesn’t mean that I should have a compromised Web browsing experience. I feel I should be able to view the page exactly the way that it was intended to be viewed. If it has Flash, I should be able to look at it on my phone with Flash. And with Internet Explorer Mobile, on our Windows Phones, I can do just that. And if you go back to the phone, you can see I have the exact same Web page running in full screen mode running that Flash animation of all the jewelry that they have on display.

And the great thing about Internet Explorer Mobile is that compared to any other mobile browser on the market, I can do more with Internet Explorer Mobile than any of them. I can book a flight. I can process transactions. I can buy a really great gift for my girlfriend. And if I wanted to I can go here, look at the galleries, and select a gift and buy it for her. But, I won’t do that, because I should really stop dealing with my personal issues in this keynote, and show you the rest of the great features on the phone.

So one of the things that you’ll notice about every single phone that comes out later this year is that they all have a dedicated start key. And this start key works in the exact same way that it does on your Windows PC. Once it’s pressed it brings up all of the applications on your phone, and with just a swipe I can go through all of them and get to the one that I’m interested in. And if there’s an application that I use a little more often than another, I can simply hold down on it, and move it to the top, so that in the future I have quick and easy access to it.

Now, straight out of the box with Windows Mobile 6.5 we’ve added some really great applications for you to use. We have Facebook and MySpace for your social networking needs, and we also have some great games, as well, including EA’s Sim City. That’s the number one PC game of all time. We’re also doing some great things with Live Services, as well. We have Windows Marketplace for Mobile, and we also have the MyPhone service.

Now how many of you all have ever lost your phone? I know I have, and it’s absolutely devastating when you lose all of your contacts, all of your photos, and all of the important information that’s important to you on your phone. So that’s why we’ve introduced the MyPhone service. With MyPhone you can back up and restore all of the important information on your phone to the cloud, and have peace of mind that whatever happens to your phone all of your information is still safe and secure. So let’s go over to the PC and see exactly how that works.

Here’s the home page of the MyPhone service. Let’s take a look at text messages, because I think it illustrates a really great point. Not only can you backup your information with the MyPhone service, but you can do stuff with it, as well. I was at dinner last night, and I ran into one of my old friends from college, and he sent me a text message with his new contact information.

Now, if I didn’t have the MyPhone service and I wanted to go through all of the hundreds of text messages that I receive a day, it might be hard to find that information on my phone. But with the MyPhone service I can use the power of the PC to search for information on my phone. With just a keyword I can pull up that exact same text message, have access to his number, and then copy and paste it into a contact card to either add a new one, or update an existing contact card that I have for him.

The other great feature of the MyPhone service is the ability to archive the content on your phone for the Web. I can do that with any of the content on my phone, from contacts to documents. And let’s take a little look at photos to illustrate how that works.

Here are some photos that I have on my phone, and a couple that I’ve taken in Vegas that have been moved to my MyPhone service since the last automatic synchronization. I’m already in a little bit of trouble as it is, so I should probably move some of these Vegas pictures off of my phone. With the MyPhone service I can do that by simply highlighting the picture and clicking archive to Web, when next my phone automatically syncs, this information, this picture will be taken off of my phone, where my girlfriend can’t see it, and it will live in the cloud where I can have access to it at any time.

We’ve had a lot of fun putting together these new features and building them into Windows Mobile 6.5, and we look forward to seeing everybody with a Windows Phone some time in the future.

Thank you.

ROBBIE BACH: So the other thing, you’ve seen the great features in Windows Mobile 6.5, and the experiences it enables, but the other thing we want to do, and the thing we hear from customers about these experiences is they want the phones to be unique to them. They want choices, as I said earlier, but they want the phone to also be a fashion statement. And in fact, most phones when you think about it people choose them in part on functionality, and in part on the fashion they deliver.

So one of the things we’ve done is we’ve gone to work with fashion designers, fashion icons, if you will, to help create great experiences on those phones. And one of today’s brightest icons in fashion is designer Isaac Mizrahi, and we’re going to show a little video here, and he’s going to talk about what it was like for him to create designer screens for Windows phones.

(Video segment.)

So I know all of you thought this was about WiMAX versus Wi-Fi, versus 3G, it’s actually about plaid versus gingham. I think that’s the debate we’re going to have. But the point Isaac makes is very real. This is about customization and personalization, making the phone your own.

Now the other way we like to do that is through the concept we call the marketplace. And the marketplace enables the consumer to take the phone that they get, and then customize it, and enable them to do new things, by adding new apps, maybe new designs for their screens, whatever it is. Some of these are very inexpensive. Some of them are full-blown applications. But Marketplace is a very exciting concept we’re bringing to Windows phones, and we’re going to show a short video here to tell you a little bit about how Marketplace works.

(Video segment.)

Today there are over 20,000 Windows Mobile applications available. And as we add Marketplace to Windows Phones it’s going to provide another great way for people to actually search for, find, and customize their phone in a crisp way. As you saw in the video, the apps are all certified, so you know they’re going to be safe for your phone. The apps are backed up, in case you lose them or switch phones, and as well there’s a self-serve refund concept where if you’re unsatisfied with the app in a period of time, you can return that application.

Now we’re getting great support from top-level development companies, and one of the leading developers in the mobile space actually turns out to be Electronic Arts. I’ve invited Adam Sussman to come out on stage to tell us more.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Adam Sussman.

ADAM SUSSMAN: Thanks, Robbie, great to see you again. So we are just incredibly excited about the launch of Windows Mobile 6.5 in the marketplace. Over the years EA and Microsoft have worked collaboratively together to bring some of the best mobile content to the market, and I’m proud to say today that every major EA mobile release this year will be available on the Windows Mobile platform.

ROBBIE BACH: That’s cool.

ADAM SUSSMAN: Yes, absolutely.

ROBBIE BACH: Let’s talk a little bit about marketplace just for a second. How do you think that influences the excitement in the market, volume for your apps, as a developer and a publisher how do you think about what you’ve seen on what we’re doing with Marketplace?

ADAM SUSSMAN: We’re really excited about the marketplace. Two of the biggest challenges we’ve faced the past is really about discoverability and accessibility of our content. We think the Marketplace really has an elegant solution that’s intuitive, and makes the purchase process easy.

ROBBIE BACH: So you obviously work with other mobile companies. EA does distribution very broadly, that’s what content creators do.


ROBBIE BACH: How do you think about Windows Mobile and working with Microsoft? What makes us different, what do you look at and say, OK, that’s why every one of our games is going to be on the Windows Mobile platform?

ADAM SUSSMAN: That’s a good question. We’re really excited about Windows Mobile, because you guys are one of the largest mobile platforms in the world. You are growing. You’re global, and frankly one of the most important things is our games look great on your devices.

ROBBIE BACH: Well, look, I’m very excited to see EA games on Windows phones. I appreciate you coming out today, and good luck bringing things to the marketplace.

ADAM SUSSMAN: We’re very excited about the launch. Thanks a lot.

ROBBIE BACH: OK. Take care.

So that brings us full circle. I want to close kind of where I started. We think the world is moving towards a three-screen world, connected by cloud-based services, and a world in which people are going to be able to customize, and personalize those experiences on all of their different devices.

You saw what we’re doing with netbooks, and more broadly with Windows 7. You saw what we’re doing with Windows Phones, and the work we’re doing to make that an exciting, customizable experience for people.

We didn’t talk a lot today about the TV, you saw a little bit about Xbox, but certainly the work we’re doing with Xbox, and our Media Room product with AT&T and their Uverse service, and other providers around the world, the opportunity to connect those screens, three screens together in a fully connected world is a tremendous opportunity for us. It’s a tremendous opportunity for this new industry. And it’s a great way for us to deliver new value to our customers.

Thanks very much.


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