Open System Offers Greater Functionality, Faster Time-to-Market and Reduced Costs

REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 3, 1998 — Today at the Embedded Systems West Conference in San Jose, Microsoft Corp. announced it will deliver a new version of the Microsoft® Windows NT® 4.0 operating system to address the needs of embedded systems vendors. Based on Windows NT 4.0 with Service Pack 4, Windows NT Embedded 4.0 is an open system solution enabling greater functionality, faster time-to-market for richer solutions and a reduced cost of owning and operating embedded devices. With a Windows NT-based infrastructure, vendors can easily develop sophisticated embedded solutions with richer services, increased functionality and strong interoperability with existing servers, networks and desktops.

Historically, embedded systems vendors have developed closed solutions based on fragmented and proprietary platforms. Windows NT Embedded 4.0 provides end users with a more affordable solution and simplified interoperability. Because it is an open system, including rich system services, standard Win32® APIs, and access to a wealth of off-the-shelf software applications, hardware and device drivers, end users can do more with their solutions. This includes managing embedded devices, such as a copier, from a desktop PC or easily integrating the functionality of that copier into an existing server infrastructure. As a complement to Windows CE, Windows NT Embedded 4.0 poses many design advantages for embedded solutions that are highly interconnected, require full Win32 binary compatibility, and are tightly integrated with Microsoft BackOffice® family products in line-of-business systems.

“Embedded solutions vendors have been looking for an open system solution and have asked Microsoft to make Windows NT that platform,”
said Mike Nash, director of marketing for Windows NT Server and infrastructure products at Microsoft.
“The development of Windows NT Embedded 4.0 is a major milestone in providing an open platform that includes the rich and extensible services required by the embedded systems market.”

Features of Windows NT Embedded 4.0

Windows NT Embedded 4.0 delivers new embedded features and target design tools that will help vendors reduce time-to-market for new devices, lower development costs and improve the functionality of solutions. New features include

  • Headless support. This enables a new class of devices for Windows NT that run without a mouse, keyboard or display device.

  • Diskless operation support. FLASH Media support, a Write Filter driver and a CD Boot driver enable a lower-cost, more reliable embedded device that boots and operates without a physical disk drive and from read-only media such as FLASH or CD-ROMs.

  • Remote management infrastructure. This enables embedded systems to be remotely managed, configured and updated, reducing administrative and management costs and improving integration with an existing network infrastructure.

  • Embedded-ready tools. Tools such as Target Designer for selecting Windows NT platform components and the Component Designer for adding application and third-party components to a system simplify development of unique embedded solutions and devices.

Windows NT Embedded 4.0 Enables New Solutions

Microsoft is working with companies such as VenturCom Inc. and Cell Computing Inc. to ensure that Windows NT Embedded 4.0 provides a robust, scalable and highly available platform on which manufacturers can offer customers comprehensive embedded services and solutions.

“Microsoft’s announcement of Windows NT Embedded demonstrates its commitment to helping manufacturers build innovative solutions that meet evolving customer needs,”
said Michael Dexter-Smith, president of VenturCom Inc.
“We look forward to working with Microsoft and our embedded systems customers to help them expand their business by developing and deploying rich solutions based on Windows NT Embedded.”

In September, an early alpha version of Windows NT Embedded was released for technical evaluation to a small group of companies within the communications, industrial automation, office automation, medical devices and retail point-of-sale industries. These companies include FORE Systems Inc., Manufacturing Data Systems Inc., Natural MicroSystems Corp., NEC Corp., Network Engines Inc., Toshiba America Information Systems Inc. and others.

“We are excited by the prospect of taking advantage of the advanced services provided by Windows NT within our new generation of Application-Aware network switches to address the needs of our enterprise and service provider customers,”
said Thomas J. Gill, president and CEO at FORE Systems.
“The robust Windows NT Embedded product, combined with our ‘Networks of Steel,’ will enable us to better respond to the growth of intelligent applications on the network.”

“Windows NT Embedded simply makes MDSI’s work that much easier,”
said Jim Fall, president and CEO of Manufacturing Data Systems.
“It gives us control over the target building process, shortens our time-to-market, lowers our development costs, and therefore makes us more competitive.”


A broad beta of Windows NT Embedded 4.0 is scheduled for release in the first quarter of 1999. Pricing and packaging information will be announced at a later date. Additional information is available at .

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