Microsoft Just Can’t Resist a Chance to Show Off at CES

Microsoft and many of its rivals have deflected attention from CES, throwing their own industry events, but that hasn’t stopped the Redmond company from making a big appearance at the Vegas gathering this week.

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer showed up on the podium during Paul Jacobs’ keynote opening keynote to discuss his company’s products.  He did not lack any mutual topics to talk about with Qualcomm’s CEO.

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Ballmer discussed Windows Phone 7 and Windows RT, the tablet version of the operating system. He gave a brief demonstration of two upcoming RT devices powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips, and touched on the topic of convergence between mobile and the PC experience.  Achieving this is was the motivation behind a lot of design choices that Microsoft made with the latest releases of its OS brand.

Ballmer also spoke about the growing Windows RT ecosystem.  He revealed that the number of apps for the platform has quadrupled since launch, including recent releases of RT versions for Dropbox and Twitter.

It’s clear that building up an app and developer ecosystem is Microsoft’s top mobile priority right now.  Here’s the market take on the latest from Bill Gates’ software behemoth:

“Ballmer is striving to drum up interest in the latest flavor of Microsoft’s flagship operating system while he plays catch-up to Apple Inc. in the $63.2 billion market for tablets. Early demand for some Windows tablets has appeared “disappointing,” according to analysts at FBR Capital Markets.”

Due to the fact that RT is optimized for tablet-grade processors, many applications that Windows users have come to rely on are not yet available on their devices. This is taking away a big portion of the platform’s appeal, but it seems that Microsoft is quickly filling in the gaps: Ballmer said that the number of new apps passed the crucial 10,000 milestone in December.