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Microsoft CES 2012 Keynote: Weirdest Highlights From The Computer Giant's Last Center-Stage Appearance

Posted: 01/11/12 05:37 PM ET

LAS VEGAS -- This is two days late, but, really, what in the name of Windows 95 was going on in Microsoft's keynote speech at CES 2012? Of all the wacky, weird, strange gadgets, gizmos and ideas on display here in Las Vegas, Microsoft's final appearance as the keynote presenter at the Consumer Electronics Show just might take the bat-poop-crazy cake (available at Baskin-Robbins), as for a little under an hour, the megalithic corporation that has made much of its money on enterprise and corporate machines marched out one bizarre surprise after another, launching a disorienting whirlwind of jaw-dropping absurdities.

At the end of the presentation, when Steve Ballmer and co-host Ryan Seacrest (which, by the way -- what?) exited the stage, I was left glued to my seat, mouth open as though I'd seen "Springtime for Hitler" performed for the first time, unsure of whether I'd just viewed something brilliant, mad or unhinged. Part of me thought Ashton Kutcher might pop out and tell us we had been punked.

Alas, there was no Kutcher, only Seacrest and Ballmer, our tour guides on the Presentational Cruise Ship From Hell, curating what felt like an hallucinatory nightmare voyage through the feverish imagination of an acid-tripping Microsoft product manager. A Microsoft employee once accused Google of throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what stuck; about halfway through Ballmer's ultimate keynote at CES, I'm pretty sure I was struck in the face by some half-cooked linguini.

Below, relive the madness of Microsoft's CES keynote, with video and photographic highlights of Ballmer's odyssey.

Visit our Big News Page to view all of our coverage from CES 2012.

Auto-Tune The Bill Gates
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Hide your kids, hide your wife. Seriously.

Microsoft kicked off its final keynote at CES with a video montage of its 15 previous presentations at the conference. Rather than offering a touching tribute, the company opted for an "Auto-Tune the Bill Gates" approach, condensing its efforts into a Gregory-Brothers-esque hip-hop video featuring a bebopping Bill Gates, multiple appearances by professional wrestler The Rock, and Steve Ballmer clapping his hands like a maniac.

At one point, Gates repeats the phrase "69 million hours," which is how long this little ditty has been stuck in my head.
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