The last time we saw Steve Ballmer star in a commercial for Microsoft, he was extolling the virtues of a 286-based PC running the glory that was Windows 1.0 -- in 1986. You can imagine the surprise we got 26 years later when Microsoft premiered an ad featuring the now-CEO during its Windows Phone 8 event. If you were expecting that same kind of unbridled enthusiasm Crazy Eddie once used to hawk underpriced TVs, you may be either pleased or disappointed. It's a very level-headed and well-spoken Ballmer this time around, with the executive calmly highlighting the advice he gets through his HTC Windows Phone 8X from people like his wife and a certain Billy G. Besides evoking nostalgia, the pitch is an illustration of what Windows Phone's live tiles can do as well as a reflection of Microsoft coming full circle -- as it was two decades ago, Redmond is fighting for market attention at a time when new interface concepts are challenging its main business. We're just glad there's fewer plaid business suits in 2012.