Microsoft to Offer New Windows Flavor for Retail Market

The Redmond software vendor says it will ship by mid-2005 what could be the first of a number of vertically focused versions of Windows Embedded.

Just as it is doing with its Windows client software, Microsoft Corp. is developing customized variants of its Windows Embedded operating system for specific markets.

The first of what could be a full line of Windows Embedded variants will be Windows Embedded for Point of Service, company officials said Monday. Microsoft is currently testing the new flavor of its Windows Embedded product in conjunction with more than 30 device makers and application vendors.

Microsoft plans to ship Windows Embedded for Point of Service by mid-2005. The company is expected to show off the latest build of the system at its private retail and hospitality developers conference in Redmond, Wash., this week. The Windows Embedded for Point of Service product is part of Microsofts grand "Smarter Retailing Initiative" strategy, which it unveiled earlier this year.

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Microsoft offers two different embedded Windows flavors: Windows XP and Windows CE. Windows XP Embedded, a subset of Windows XP, is typically integrated into retail point-of-sale terminals, thin clients and advanced set-top boxes. Windows CE is a real-time embedded operating system typically used in small-footprint devices.

Windows Embedded for Point of Service is designed to make retail peripherals—scanners, receipt printers, cash drawers and magnetic-stripe readers—to "plug and play" seamlessly with Windows Embedded.

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