RealTime IT News

Microsoft, MIPS Form Vendor Alliance

Long-time partners Microsoft and MIPS Technologies grew closer Wednesday with the formation of an alliance intended to promote the Windows CE .NET embedded operating system on standard MIPS architecture to developers and OEMs.

MIPS produces industry-standard, high-performance, low-power, 32- and 64-bit RISC microprocessor architectures and cores for embedded systems.

The alliance of silicon vendors includes ADMtek, AMD, ATI Technologies, Broadcom, Marvell Technology Group, NEC Electronics, PMC-Sierra, Texas Instruments and Toshiba. The members will form an advisory group that will help Microsoft and MIPS create more optimized Windows CE ports for 32- and 64-bit MIPS-based processors destined for telematics and medical equipment, residential gateways, set-top boxes, VoIP phones, even industrial automation equipment and other devices.

"The idea is to collaborate with these companies in the alliance to ensure that Windows CE and MIPS architecture work smoothly together out of the box," Scott Horn, director of the Embedded and Appliance Platforms Group at Microsoft, told internetnews.com.

Horn said that together with feedback from the alliance, Microsoft and MIPS will offer developers and OEMs the ability to "choose from a wide variety of innovation that's happening out there. They get that support out of the box."

The two partners unveiled the alliance of leading silicon vendors at The MIPS and Microsoft Executive Summit, an invitation-only, two-day workshop at Microsoft's Redmond campus that brings together executives from 50 of MIPS' top licensees. The summit is intended to provide MIPS partners with information about the latest MIPS and Windows CE technologies and business opportunities that are available through the integration of Windows CE .NET with MIPS architecture. Horn said the two companies hope to bring the attendees into the alliance.

The summit will cover marketing strategies, technology road maps, silicon vendor case studies of successful embedded solutions, and technical overviews.

The alliance has already brought engineers from both MIPS and Toshiba onto the Redmond campus, where they are dedicated to optimizing Windows CE for MIPS architecture.

"Windows CE is really the only operating system out there right now that supports both MIPS 32-bit and MIPS 64-bit implementations," said Kevin Meyer, vice president of marketing at MIPS. "We have over 15 companies now which are doing unique implementations around the MIPS architecture."

Microsoft plans to release the next version of Windows CE .NET in the first half of calendar 2003.