Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft, will return to the show for a preshow keynote. In the past, he has used the forum to preview new products and technology, including the Xbox, Tablet PC, eBook, Microsoft TV, and Windows Vista.
Microsoft's consumer hardware division took a huge hit this week. The company said it would take a financial charge against pretax earnings of between $1.05 billion and $1.15 billion to account for the cost of an "unacceptable" number of repairs to its Xbox 360 video game system.
This will be Gates' last appearance at CES as the acting chairman and chief software architect for Microsoft. In July 2008, Gates will relinquish his day-to-day responsibilities to put more effort into the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Panasonic AVC Networks president Toshihiro Sakamoto and Intel CEO Paul Otellini will also keynote, while Consumer Electronics Association president and CEO Gary Shapiro will give a state of the industry address at the Venetian, the CEA announced Thursday. More keynote speakers will be named later this year.
Shapiro called the speakers visionary industry pioneers who have revolutionized consumer technology and can offer valuable insight.
"We look forward to hearing their visions for the future of consumer technology, particularly the impact new consumer technology products will have on digital content and services," he said.
About 2,700 exhibitors will debut products in content, wireless, digital imaging, mobile electronics, home theater, and audio at CES. Gates will speak at 6:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 6. Sakamoto, Otellini, and Shapiro will speak the following day.
Sakamoto is credited with creating and driving Panasonic's digital consumer electronics device strategies for flat panel displays and other high-definition, network-compatible products. He spent two years as president of Taiwan Matsushita Electric and served three assignments with Panasonic companies in the United States.
Otellini became CEO of Intel in 2005, after serving as president and CEO for three years. He joined the company in 1974 and previously held senior management positions for Intel microprocessor product divisions, as well as Intel's global sales and marketing. He's credited with widening Intel's focus from fast microprocessors to integrated technologies for high-performance, energy-efficient microprocessors.