Microsoft Offers New Detail on Embedded OS Plans

Microsoft Corp. is still on track to deliver embedded versions of the Whistler and Windows XP operating systems within 90 days of each product's general release, a company spokeswoman said this week at the ESC West conference.

Megan Kidd, product manager for Microsoft's Embedded and Appliance Platforms Group, said Microsoft plans to release a Windows XP Embedded version by the end of this year and a Whistler Server Embedded version in 2002.

The Windows XP Embedded version will be an embedded client operating system for Windows-based terminals, thin clients and set-top boxes among other uses. The Whistler Server Embedded version will target server appliances such as Network-Attached Storage devices, Web blades and routers.

The current version of Microsoft's embedded OS is Windows NT 4.0 Embedded. Last year, Microsoft dropped plans for a Windows 2000 Embedded version.

Rather than deliver an embedded product 18 months or more after the general Windows 2000 release, Microsoft decided to coordinate its next embedded release more closely with the general OS release in the Whistler timeframe.

In the meantime, Microsoft developed a Server Appliance Kit based on Windows 2000 Advanced Server for vendors to use to build server-based appliances.

According to a Microsoft roadmap circulated this week, a 2.0 version of the Server Appliance Kit is planned for the first half of 2001. The roadmap shows the Server Appliance Kit merging with the server embedded operating system when Whistler Server Embedded ships.

Whistler is the code name for Microsoft's next cut of servers. The company has not publicly declared what it will call the servers.

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About the Author

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