Windows 'Classic' drives Microsoft embedded sales

Analyst firm Venture Development Corporation has claimed that Microsoft’s desktop operating systems are responsible for the bulk of the company’s sales into embedded systems with some 40 per cent of licence fees coming from full versions of the software simply sold under more restricted licences.

VDC said the applications for Microsoft’s Classic OS line in embedded include retail automation, industrial automation and large complex medical devices. VDC’s description of Microsoft’s Classic OSs includes full versions of Windows XP, Vista, 9x, DOS, and other operating systems under embedded restricted licenses.

“The main factors driving Microsoft’s success in this area is the development of PC-type devices that are not resource-constrained, do not require any special hardware or software requirements and where third-party application software already exists” said Stephen Balacco, director with VDC’s embedded software practice.

Real-time support if required can be achieved with real-time extensions from companies such as Ardence, TenAsys and others. “In these cases, with low-volume shipments a standard general purpose off-the-shelf operating system becomes an attractive fit both technically and financially for the embedded system manufacturer,” Balacco added.

Sales of specialised versions of Windows, such as XP Embedded and POS, account for less than one-third of Microsoft’s embedded sales, according to VDC.

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