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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on stage at Build this morning.

Posting from Anaheim: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, in town for the company’s annual meeting with financial analysts this afternoon, is making a surprise appearance right now at the companion Build conference for hardware and software developers at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Talking about the reception so far for Windows 8, Ballmer shared a bit of news — saying that 500,000 copies of the Windows 8 preview have been downloaded since the company made the pre-beta version of the operating system available online last night.

“While it’s clear we have a long way to go, still, with Windows 8, we’ve been gratified certainly by the reactions and the interest,” he said.

Ballmer talked about how Microsoft is changing its business for the new world of cloud computing and devices, “reimagining” not just Windows but the company more broadly. And he concluded with a reference to one of his most famous lines.

“It’s the day and age of the developer. It’s the day and age of the Windows developer,” he said. “And in the day and age of the Windows developer, I’m going to leave you with one last thought. Let’s move forward together, and let’s seize the opportunity for developers, developers developers.”

Previously: How to get Windows 8 right now — at your own risk

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