Windows Embedded Channel

The Microsoft Embedded Channel is an independent OEM channel beside the "normal" Desktop, Systembuilder and EPG division, focussed on industrial "Embedded" Systems.

“Embedded System” stands for a computing system or device with an Image that is designed for (and distributed with) an embedded application and is not marketed or useable as a general purpose personal computing device (such as a personal computer), a multi-function server or a commercially viable substitute for one of these systems. Typically, embedded computing refers to any computer system or computing device that performs a dedicated function or is designed for use with a specific embedded software application. These are systems that the end user typically cannot modify. Embedded operating systems are usually highly customised for a specific task or function. They may be optimised for specialised hardware or a specific application. Since the configuration can be "locked down" and therefore rigorously tested, manufacturers of these systems can control costs and deliver highly reliable devices optimised for specialised tasks.

Customers have to sign a Microsoft Embedded OEM agreement (no quantity binding) to receive embedded licenses. The embedded channel is a closed channel, meaning sub-distribution of embedded licenses is prohibited and the OEM has to bundle the licenses with hardware to an embedded system.

Key Points for an Embedded System

  • Operating system must be preinstalled. (HW bundled)
  • System has a dedicated, industrial function.
  • Must have a license sticker (COA) attached (non visible attachment possible).
  • Replication media is optional (no mandatory installation CD for the end-customer).

Key Advantages provided through the Embedded Channel

  • Cost effective and simple licensing model (only license stickers: stick and forget).
  • Componentised operating systems possible (XP Embedded, Windows CE).
  • Separate OEM channel with own OEM agreement without any quantity bindings.
  • Easy deployment, same as for large OEMs.
  • Microsoft OPK (OEM Preinstallation Kits) available for free from Avnet Embedded.
  • Long product availability. (DOS6.22 still available)
  • Language and version independent license stickers.
  • MUI Multi Language Packages available for free.
  • OEM Activation possible (XP Professional, Vista, Server)