Thanks to VNU for their Consumer Electronics Show coverage blog we have a blow by blow account of Bill Gates’ presentation on the living room of the future. Like a dysfunctional family there were the inevitable breakdowns in communication (between the PC and a Nikon camera), relationships got a little icy (when an XBox froze into the blue screen of death) and some family members decide not to turn up at all (like the MSN Remote service when the onstage internet connection failed and they could not show how a Microsoft PC can be controlled remotely to record a TV programme).
With great marketing chutzpah Microsoft hid these inevitable faults by having the the presentation co-hosted by Conan O’Brien – heir apparent to the Late Show mantle. Microsoft is used to having product failures mar marketing exercises at events such as Comdex, so was well prepared with a metaphoric roll of wallpaper and bucket of paste. It would be a mistake to think from these errors that the company is not serious about invading the living room, be afraid.