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W2K Embedded Scrapped; Appliance Server Kits & Whistler Embedded on Tap

NEW ORLEANS -- Microsoft Corp.’s embedded operating system development team will skip Windows 2000 in an effort to catch up with release schedules for the general operating system.

"We are not doing a Windows 2000 Embedded," Bill Veghte said today at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference here. Veghte is vice president of the newly formed Embedded & Appliance Platform Group at Microsoft (www.microsoft.com). As the top executive in that group, Veghte oversees Microsoft’s efforts with Windows CE, Windows Embedded, and Windows Appliance Servers.

"We looked at our timeliness," Veghte said in explaining the decision to skip an embedded version of Windows 2000. Historically it has taken Microsoft 12-18 months to develop an embedded version of its operating system. Microsoft first made Windows NT 4.0 Embedded available to OEMs last August. "That would put us into next year," Veghte said.

"We focused our engineering on a Whistler embedded and a server appliance kit," Veghte said.

Whistler is Microsoft’s follow-on to Windows 2000 and is expected to ship sometime in 2001. Veghte said the embedded group would target a date 90 days after the general release of Whistler to deliver an embedded version of Whistler.

Windows 2000 Embedded had a relatively short public life. Microsoft’s first official acknowledgement of the embedded OS came at the Feb. 17 launch of Windows 2000. The version was listed on a presentation slide of products Microsoft planned to ship this year.

The server appliance kit Veghte discussed will be available in June, he said. It will be similar to the optimized version of Windows 2000 Advanced Server used by both IBM Corp. (www.ibm.com) and Dell Computer Corp. (www.dell.com) in Web server appliances the companies unveiled recently.

The kit will be sold to OEMs that seek to deliver appliance servers for Web serving or network-attached storage or other single-purpose needs. The Server Appliance Kit includes a full version of Windows 2000 with certain services turned off to optimize performance in a single-purpose environment. For embedded versions of Windows, Microsoft physically removes components from the operating system.

Also today, Microsoft said that Windows CE 3.0, Windows CE Platform Builder 3.0, and Embedded Visual Tools 3.0 would all be available in June. – Scott Bekker

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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