Schiller vs. Ballmer: The Inevitable, Unexpected Keynote Smackdown

By  |  Tuesday, December 16, 2008 at 5:58 pm

Phil Schiller and Steve BallmerMind if I state the obvious? Steve Jobs is the undisputed master of the tech-product keynote, and if there’s anyone who’s a very distant second place, it sure ain’t Bill Gates. Yet the only other tech keynote that’s got any history to it other than the Jobs Macworld Expo ritual has been the Bill Gates keynote in Las Vegas, a tradition even more venerable than the Macworld Expo Stevenote. It even outlasted Comdex, the show it was given at–Gates simply transferred his act to CES.

But with Gates’ retirement from active duty at Microsoft, next month’s CES will be headlined by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. He’ll give keynote on Wednesday, January 7th–the day after Phil Schiller gives his first and final presentation as Steve Jobs’ substitute at Macworld Expo in San Francisco. In two days, we’ll see two changings of the keynote guard at the only two keynotes that ever mattered.

Jobs and Gates: The two most iconic entrepreneurs that tech has produced to date. Schiller and Ballmer? Not iconic. It’s like seeing Marlin Perkins sidekick Jim Fowler take over Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom the same week that Ed McMahon assumes the duties of hosting The Tonight Show.

In the era of Jobs and Gates, you didn’t have to give a nanosecond’s thought to who would give the more impressive presentation. With Schiller vs. Ballmer, it’s a tougher call. We’ve seen both of them do demos before, but the spotlight has never shined on them quite as brightly as it will in three weeks.

Who will be the new king of the conference keynote? (Yes, I know that Schiller plans to abdicate after one morning.) You’ve got me, but as we prepare to answer that question, we can at least prep ourselves by analyzing existing footage of the two execs ‘ communication styles.

Schiller:

Ballmer:

Schiller:

Ballmer:

Schiller:

Ballmer:

So who would you rather watch at work next month? So help me, I may witness both in person…

 
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6 Comments For This Post

  1. Krystalo Says:

    Ballmer.

  2. JoeDuck Says:

    It’s like seeing Marlin Perkins sidekick Jim Fowler take over Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom the same week that Ed McMahon assumes the duties of hosting The Tonight Show.

    Dude…that’s harsh.

  3. Nate Says:

    It’s like seeing Marlin Perkins sidekick Jim Fowler take over Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom the same week that Ed McMahon assumes the duties of hosting The Tonight Show

    It’s probably more like Perkins handing off to Mr. Bean, and Johnny handing off to wrestler Randy Savage!

  4. Ciro Says:

    Balmer is definitely Bi-polar!

  5. steveballmer Says:

    Are you people making fun of me?

  6. steveballmer Says:

    Ballmer wins!

5 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. Macworld Fallout: Organizer Talks, Apple Walks, Community Balks | The iPhone Blog Says:

    [...] on for more, after the break! – Harry McCracken of Technologizer points out that we now get the battle of the second stringers: Ballmer instead of Gates at CES vs. Schiller instead of Jobs at Apple. – BusinessWeek’s Peter [...]

  2. Macworld Fallout: Organizer Talks, Apple Walks, Community Balks | My Apple iPhone Says:

    [...] McCracken of Technologizer points out that we now get the battle of the second stringers: Ballmer instead of Gates at CES vs. Schiller instead of Jobs at [...]

  3. iPhone 3G » Blog Archive » Macworld Fallout: Organizer Talks, Apple Walks, Community Balks Says:

    [...] McCracken of Technologizer points out that we now get the battle of the second stringers: Ballmer instead of Gates at CES vs. Schiller instead of Jobs at [...]

  4. Macworld Fallout: Organizer Talks, Apple Walks, Community Balks - iPhone Newswire Says:

    [...] McCracken of Technologizer points out that we now get the battle of the second stringers: Ballmer instead of Gates at CES vs. Schiller instead of Jobs at [...]

  5. Duellng Keynotes: Phil Schiller at Macworld Expo vs. Steve Ballmer at CES | Technologizer Says:

    [...] many, many keynotes by Bill Gates at Comdex and CES conferences that I covered.) I’ve already written a bit about the two keynotes; after the jump, a more formal comparison in the form of a [...]

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