Opening his keynote address at the Tech Ed 2008 Developer conference today, Bill Gates noted that this is his last public speech as the full-time chairman of Microsoft. Gates walked over 6000 developers here in Orlando down memory lane with him, hitting the high points in Microsoft development over his 30-year sojourn.

“When I think back on the early days of development when we were all programming in DOS, and then take a look at what we can do now with technologies like the .NET Framework, it simply amazes me how far we’ve come,” Gates said. “I started out as a developer and that’s what I remain at heart, so I have a personal interest in the future of the field. I am confident that the path we are laying out today will serve you well into the future.” Looking to the future Gates noted that a major shift will be in computer interaction: touch support, pen recognition, speech recognition, and pervasive use of new camera technology.

Product release announcements from Microsoft came thick and fast: including release timing for Internet Explorer 8 beta 2, a technical collaboration with IBM, availability of Silverlight 2 beta 2, and the launch of the Microsoft project code-named “Velocity,” a distributed in-memory application cache platform. See videos of Karen Forster's exclusive interview with Microsoft General Manager Jonathan Perera about Silverlight 2 beta 2, Microsoft's partnership with IBM to support visual Studio Team System Database Edition for DB2, and more developer announcements at the end of this article.

Gates, joined on stage by Microsoft executives including S. Somasegar, David Campbell and Brian Harry, discussed trends in development technology, focusing on how Microsoft is driving forward in several areas of development: the presentation layer, business logic, data-driven applications, and services (software plus services—S+S). Gates stressed the importance of the model-driven application platform (the Oslo project). Gates announced that at the fall PDC a CTP of Oslo will be available. In addition, Gates introduced Tandy Trower, who discussed Microsoft's work on a new generation of robots, based on PC technology. Trower showcased the Ballmerbot who reprised the famous "Developer, Developer, Developer, Developer" monkey dance.

Gates showed an amusing video about his last day as Chairman with lots of superstar cameo appearances from actors (George Clooney and Matthew McConaughey) musicians (Bono and Jay-Z), and politicians (Hilary Clinton, Barak Obama, John McCain, plus Al Gore).

What else besides board membership and philanthropy could be in his future?

Videos of Windows IT Pro's editorial and strategy director Karen Forster interviewing Microsoft General Manager Jonathan Perera about Silverlight 2 beta 2, Microsoft's partnership with IBM to support visual Studio Team System Database Edition for DB2, and other developer-oriented announcements.