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. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Ubuntu 14.04 LTS: Great changes, but sssh don't mention the...
Why HELLO Amazon! You weren't here last time
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Next Windows obsolescence panic is 450 days from … NOW!
The clock is ticking louder for Windows Server 2003 R2 users
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
OpenBSD founder wants to bin buggy OpenSSL library, launches fork
One Heartbleed vuln was too many for Theo de Raadt
Got Windows 8.1 Update yet? Get ready for YET ANOTHER ONE – rumor
Leaker claims big release due this fall as Microsoft herds us into the CLOUD
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
Red Hat to ship RHEL 7 release candidate with a taste of container tech
Grab 'near-final' version of next Enterprise Linux next week
Apple inaugurates free OS X beta program for world+dog
Prerelease software now open to anyone, not just developers – as long as you keep quiet
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
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.
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.
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.