MS Pulls Embedded OSes Into One Business Unit

NEW ORLEANS (04/28/2000) - At its Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) here this week, Microsoft Corp. said its operating systems for the embedded market, which include Windows CE, Windows NT Embedded and the forthcoming Windows 2000 Server Appliance Kit, are being combined into a single business unit.

Called the Embedded and Appliance Platforms Group, the new unit will be headed by Bill Veghte, a vice president at Microsoft. It will be part of the software vendor's Platform Group, which is jointly headed by Jim Allchin and Paul Maritz.

Veghte said the group will concentrate on one part of the embedded market:

32-bit systems or higher that require connectivity and adaptable software. The technology will be delivered to other Microsoft divisions such as the Consumer Group, which develops the Pocket PC, as well as to hardware manufacturers.

A Good Idea

WinHEC attendee Tom Scherger, a senior software engineer at Intermec Technologies Corp. in Everett, Wash., said he likes the idea of a single embedded unit at Microsoft.

"They've realigned all the embedded operating systems under one group, and that will make a huge difference," said Scherger, adding that he expects the move to lead to "less confusion" about how each operating system is positioned.

Intermec makes Windows CE-based handhelds for various vertical markets.

Veghte acknowledged that there has been some overlap among Microsoft's three embedded platforms. But Windows CE will be aimed at client devices and at non-Intel Corp. processor architectures, he said.

Windows NT Embedded, which is based on NT 4.0, will be aimed at uses in which developers want increased control over what functionality to include in the operating system, Veghte said.

The Windows 2000 Server Appliance Kit, while positioned similarly to Windows NT Embedded, will be less configurable but more robust because it's based on the Windows 2000 base code.

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