For the first time in many years, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer didn’t deliver the preshow keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last night — but that didn’t stop him from making a appearance.

Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs, who took Ballmer’s place in the traditional slot, was about 15 minutes into the event when Ballmer came running out on stage, a prearranged surprise. He talked about new Windows 8 and Windows Phone devices, focusing on those powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon processors.

Ballmer delivered a minor piece of news, saying that sales of Windows Phones were five times larger during Christmas week this year than during the same period last year. That’s up from the four-fold increase that the Microsoft CEO was citing in November. As in the past, he didn’t give any unit numbers.

Check out a clip of Ballmer above and watch the full Qualcomm keynote video here.

CES chief Gary Shapiro, for one, was apparently pleased …

Previously on GeekWire: POLL: Do you like Steve Ballmer’s new haircut? 

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  • Guest

    Cool! Kudos to Steve for this innovative viral creative.

    • Guest

      I’m sorry but you’ve just strung three adjectives together “innovative viral creative” with no noun to be found.

      This court finds you guilty of heinous crimes against English and sentences you to the linguistic penal colony in Redmond WA. There you will be issued a blue badge with your name and number and be housed with others who have committed similar terrible crimes against the English language.

      • Guest

        “Creative” is a noun. From :

        1 : one who is creative; especially : one involved in the creation of advertisements

        2 : creative activity or the material produced by it especially in advertising

        For your barratry, I must sentence you to the linguistic penile colony. Good day, sir!

        • Guest

          Not sure I buy that. I invoke linguistic thunder dome: two verbs enter, one verb leaves!

          • guest

            Yeah, the dictionary must be wrong.

  • Seattle Startup

    A smattering of applause….says a lot.

  • Admin

    We will all know the real numbers (#’s) when earnings are reported in a few weeks. Something sounds fishy and smells loudly like a thud.

  • firesign3000

    So that makes what, a total 100 Windows phones sold? Progress!

  • paco cornholio

    Just painful to watch, like tense cocktail conversation between people who wish they’d stayed home.

  • SilverSee

    Steve stole the show.

    • guest

      Nobody ever doubted Steve’s ability to be the center of attention. It’s his ability as a CEO that has been questioned, rightfully given the record.

  • FadFooFee

    Youve3 got to admit that is pretty funny dude.

  • Telekon

    Wow! Ballmer never gets tired of being a fool. They talk like a badly done infomercial!

  • Tohe

    This is so bizarre.

  • grouver

    the sales of windows phones were ONLY 5x larger? That’s a disaster any way you look at it. You now have about 10x the number of devices that were available last year, the sales last year were horrendous so 5x a very small number is STILL a very small number. How about … try again, yeah?

  • Scott Moore

    OK, I watched the video. That was the most painful infomercial I’ve seen in a long time. “The ONLY tablet with MS Office”, which really nobody cares anymore. But that one line really sums up what’s wrong with Surface, and why the Windows phone has done so poorly. MS devices are designed to enhance the experience of using MS apps, rather than create an experience the user wants. Oh, yawn, that was so soooooo last decade.

  • Kevin Costain

    It’s definitely a tense time for Microsoft – this awkward back and forth really does seem to show how things are as Microsoft takes this gamble. I think Microsoft is easily a generation off with the Office 2013 product – it just doesn’t fit on a tablet. I even wrote about this:

    More and more it seems like Windows 8 and a Modern UI version of Windows should have been separate products in the market. This might have given Microsoft the chance to market both the products independently and (perhaps more importantly) better appeal to business consumers.

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