WINHEC: Microsoft unveils new pricing scheme for CE

NEW ORLEANS – Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday announced a new pricing model and updated packaging for its latest version of its embedded operating system CE .Net 4.2.

Announced last week, Windows CE .Net 4.2 is a real-time operating system designed for creating next-generation smart, connected small-footprint devices. To provide greater flexibility for its customers, Microsoft has designed version 4.2 in two flavours: CE .Net 4.2 Core designed for low-end devices; and CE .Net 4.2 Professional, which offers a richer user interface and enhanced multimedia capabilities.

While historically, Microsoft has taken a one-size-fits-all approach with its licensing fees, the company announced Tuesday that it has changed its ways and is offering the Core OS to users at an estimated retail price of US$3 per license.

According to Debby Fry Wilson, director with Microsoft Embedded, the low-cost licensing scheme gives Microsoft customers more flexibility to leverage their investments with developers.

“(Customers) in turn, save on development costs because there is no need to know different OSes and they have a faster time to market,” Wilson said. “They also save on the licensing costs.”

As part of the Core offering, Microsoft is also offering a new free, non-commercial distribution license enabling its partners and device manufacturers to build prototypes and share device images.

“We take away all the costs in early development to enable collaboration and the addition of new features and functionality in order to foster innovation,” Wilson explained. “We are targeting education, hobbyist as well as commercial markets to ensure that there is no barrier to entry.”

Microsoft Windows CE .Net 4.2 is set for release June 1. For details visit the company’s Canadian Web site at