Bill Gates has been showing off the new features in Windows Vista this evening, saying that the software "Will come in and make things both simpler and more effective."
In entertainment, Microsoft demonstrated the new media features of Vista, saying that users needed a 'single interface' to access different activities and devices.
Gates said that "live services" would figure strongly in the future, with "Your files and information... actually stored out in the internet. Even if you pick up someone elses device, once you've authenticated, you can have all your data on there too."
Gates said that themes of "Personalisation, empowerment, of everything moving to the internet" would underpin the rest of what he called the 'Digital decade'.
However, having sat and watched the new media functions of Vista, the general opinion of journalists in the audience was a rather beleagured 'meh'.
Most of the media features that were demonstrated are already present in Mac OSX Tiger. There is a new media library manager, which allows you to go through and organise all your photos. The manager includes 'revolutionary' features including crop and exposure adjustment, a ratings system, a slideshow and a powerful search engine to search by date, a much requested user function. The general murmur was a mixture of coughs, splutters and mumbled mentions of 'iPhoto'.
Microsoft also showed off Windows Media Player 11, which includes a 'powerful music management experience' including fast-displaying album art, a ratings system, statistics management and a powerful search engine to get results by keywords, genres etc. Most people sighed and nodded towards the nearest open copy of iTunes on the myriad of notebooks open.
Also praised was a new sidebar, which allows quick access to small applications. By this point, the cries of 'Widgets!' were barely concealed.
In fact, the only thing Microsoft demonstrated that isn't already present in OSX was a parental control feature, which allows parents to restrict the games that can be played on a user account by the rating on the game.
The Media Center Vista experience was rather more original, and we'll be covering that in due course. In the meantime, join us in this forum thread
, and we'll be underwhelmed by Vista together.