The software is aimed at licensees developing solutions for so-called vertical markets -- that is, markets dedicated to single type of device -- such as telecommunications, retail cash till, manufacturing and Internet appliances.
Although older operating systems and versions of Unix are already widely used in such areas, Microsoft said NT Embedded provides a more familiar environment for most software developers.
"It's aimed at what we call headless systems' that don't have a keyboard or monitor -- they're just black boxes," said Nicholas McGrath, Windows NT product manager at Microsoft. "We're looking, for example, at things like petrol pumps as well as routers, hubs and bridges. It's anything where an OS is necessary to provide intelligence to the appliance."