Microsoft has released a beta version of the embedded implementation of Whistler, the next release of the Windows 2000 operating system.
The embedded version will be aimed at terminals, set-top boxes, and retail point-of-sale kiosks.
"We are bringing the latest Windows technology to the embedded space," said Deanne Hoppe, lead product manager of embedded and appliance platforms for Microsoft.
Until now Microsoft has kept a low profile in the embedded arena because it hasn’t been a big part of its business, according to analysts.
"Microsoft clearly needs to counter in some way the trend to move toward Linux as the popular embedded OS," said Dwight Davis, an analyst at US-based Summit Strategies.
Linux has garnered a sizeable chunk of the embedded market, mainly because it's reliable, inexpensive, and has a small footprint. In short, it's exactly what people look for in an embedded operating system.
An embedded version of Whistler is due to ship 90 days after the final version of Whistler for mainstream PC systems.