Feeds

Why Pocket PC isn't WinCE – Microsoft

Untwist those licensing knickers

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

When is Windows CE not Windows CE? When it's part of Pocket PC, it seems.

Last week we wrote about Microsoft's move to allow WinCE licensees not only access to the operating system's source code, but modify that code and release the changes in commercial products (see Microsoft licenses WinCE source code for commercial use)

As a result, we said, "Pocket PC manufacturers will now be able to tailor their system software to better differentiate their products".

Not so, says Microsoft, in a rare moment of pro-active clarification. "PocketPC [is] a separate layer of code on top of the core Windows CE OS... Pocket PC is based on Windows CE, but it's a different offering."

Now we knew that there's more to Pocket PC than Windows CE - the applications, for a start, and the user interface too, apparently. But if Pocket PC contains Windows CE, why are licensees unable to modify the WinCE part, as manufacturers which license WinCE directly are able to? After all, there's no reason why the Pocket PC code can't remain under existing restrictions while the underlying code is open to view.

It's a bit like saying, you've bought the table but you're not allowed to saw the legs down to a better height. Buy the legs to put your own top on, and you can go with whatever height of table you prefer. Or add a shelf. Or include a chair.

We asked how this anomaly arises. "The Pocket PC group is an internal customer that builds on Windows CE, just as an independent software vendor builds on top of the OS to layer on additional capabilities and applications," came the response.

What Microsoft's representatives didn't say was that the company won't allow manufacturers to tinker with anything that's likely to carry a Microsoft trademark, no matter how well that may improve the product, but that's what the current situation amounts to.

Microsoft can, of course, offer its software under whatever licensing terms it chooses. As we ourselves said, the new WinCE licence is more important to unbranded, embedded solutions than it is to the Pocket PC world, but the current arrangement does seem a mite unfair to its Pocket PC partners. ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
IRS boss on XP migration: 'Classic fix the airplane while you're flying it attempt'
Plus: Condoleezza Rice at Dropbox 'maybe she can find ... weapons of mass destruction'
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
New Facebook phone app allows you to stalk your mates
Nearby Friends feature goes live in a few weeks
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.