Microsoft to Skip Windows 2000 Embedded

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

"We are not doing a Windows 2000 Embedded," said Bill Veghte at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference held here late last month. Veghte is vice president of the newly formed Embedded & Appliance Platform Group at Microsoft ( 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 the embedded version. Historically it has taken Microsoft 12 to 18 months to develop an embedded version of its operating system. "That would put us into next year," Veghte said. "We focused our engineering on a Whistler embedded and a server appliance kit." Microsoft first made Windows NT 4.0 Embedded to OEMs last August.

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

Windows 2000 Embedded had a relatively short public life. Microsoft’s first official acknowledged a possibility of an embedded version of the operating system 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 will be available in June, Veghte said. It will be similar to the optimized version of Windows 2000 Advanced Server used by both IBM Corp. ( and Dell Computer Corp. ( in Web server appliances the companies unveiled recently.

Those servers sparked a flurry of interest in Windows 2000 Embedded, with some OEM sources calling the optimized version of Windows 2000 a "lite" or embedded version. At the time, Veghte flatly denied those assertions.

The kit will be sold to OEMs seeking to deliver appliances for Web serving, network-attached storage (NAS), 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.

Microsoft will deliver one version of the kit for all OEM appliances, whether they are for Web serving, NAS, or otherwise. Veghte said the kit consists of an instruction manual showing OEMs how to turn on and off different services. Pricing will be consistent with other Windows 2000 license fees.

Also at WinHEC, Microsoft said that Windows CE 3.0, Windows CE Platform Builder 3.0, and Embedded Visual Tools 3.0 will all be available in June.