REDMOND, Wash., March 10, 1997 — In a move expected to deploy the Windows® CE operating system in a broad spectrum of devices – from factory robots to consumer electronics products – Microsoft Corp. today announced it plans to broaden the availability of Windows CE to embedded systems manufacturers. For the first time, embedded systems manufacturers will be able to get a lightweight, portable operating system that supports a subset of the Microsoft® Win32® API, opening up their products to hundreds of thousands of developers already familiar with programming for Microsoft Windows.
This licensing program will expand the availability of Windows CE to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) interested in embedding the small, portable operating system in a variety of dedicated product development efforts. Products could range from systems used in industrial applications, such as shop floor automation, to consumer electronic devices.
The new licensing program complements Microsoft’s continuing efforts to deploy Windows CE in targeted product categories such as mobile computing and consumer entertainment products. The first of these products, the Handheld PC (H/PC), was introduced in November 1996. These targeted product announcements will reflect a broader level of cooperation between Microsoft, hardware OEMs and ISVs required to define and evangelize these targeted categories.
With support for numerous CPUs and various hardware platforms, Windows CE is a very flexible and attractive platform for embedded systems. However, without a defined hardware platform, the operating system is somewhat hardware-dependent. Microsoft recognized that interested developers may have little or no experience with adapting system software to hardware and may require additional assistance in developing for the Windows CE platform.
To resolve this issue, Microsoft has carefully selected a number of system integrators capable of supporting OEMs with the development of their Windows CE-based systems. To cover the spectrum of hardware platforms, Microsoft has selected various integrators to help ensure that all the processor architectures supported by Windows CE are available through the OEM Adaptation Kit (OAK) provided by Microsoft.
In addition to the systems integrators selected, Microsoft has selected dedicated systems distributors to handle the licensing for Windows CE. These distributors have the right to sublicense Windows CE and also can provide support to OEM customers, using the OAK. With this
concept and support through key distributors, OEMs can shop for all their Windows CE needs at a single stop.
“Following the successful launch of the Handheld PC using Windows CE, we have received increased interest from additional companies wanting to develop products using the operating system,”
said Harel Kodesh, general manager, consumer appliance group at Microsoft Corp.
“Licensing Windows CE allows a broad range of dedicated devices to be developed in a manner that allows manufacturers to adapt Windows CE to the particular requirements of their product design and to bring that product to market quickly.”
The Windows CE licensing program is designed to assist manufacturers focused on a variety of industrial and consumer electronics devices, such as phones, handheld terminals for vertical applications, other types of terminals, industrial control, point-of-sale devices, and automotive applications. Licensing for Windows CE code will be handled directly by Microsoft for large-volume requirements, and through dedicated system distributors for smaller-volume opportunities.
The OEM Adaptation Kit provides the Windows CE operating system code to adapt to the particular hardware target platform. A range of companies using the adaptation kit in product development areas such as telecommunications, industrial controls and retail point-of-sale plan to have products on the market by the end of 1997. The OAK can be licensed from the dedicated systems group in the Microsoft OEM division.
Windows CE is Microsoft’s compact and portable operating system built from the ground up to be appropriate for a broad range of business and consumer devices that can communicate with each other, share information with Windows-based PCs and connect to the Internet.
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