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MS releases CE3, announces new appliance kits

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Windows' embedded Czar has been trying to tidy up Microsoft's OS strategy. This was formally unveiled at the WinHEC conference last month, but as we reported earlier this doesn't seem to have left the target audience much clearer. Today Bengt Akerlind, VP for Embedded Products, had another go, and threw some new ingredients into the mix.

As we suspected, NT Embedded (NTE) now gets the lion's share of attention, with development shifting to the Whistler codebase (it's NT4.0+SP5 right now), and announced new Server Appliance Kits to be released at the end of summer.

In his keynote to the Applied Computing Conference in Santa Clara, Akerlind said Microsoft wanted releases of NTE to follow within 90 days of the desktop Windows 2000, and added that Windows CE 3.0 had finally been released to manufacturing.

Akerlind said the group hadn't been able to deliver a coherent strategy until April, when the reorganisation was finally approved.

In a lovely admission that Windows 2000's point-and-drool wizard interface is still overkill for many customers, Akerlind described the Server Appliance Kit as allowing ISVs to make a turnkey box out of their application, "for customers who don't have the expertise to manage an NT Server". The previously-announced collaboration with Intel, Windows for Express Networks, was also punted. Again this is a PC replacement, for sealed box file and print, Web or backup functions. ®

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