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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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