Microsoft is moving ahead with its commitment to the Internet of Things and intelligent systems by releasing a preview of its Windows Embedded 8 Standard software, which will hit the market next March. The company also said it expects to release Windows Embedded Compact 2013 in the second quarter of next year.

“Faced with the explosion of business data, enterprises are looking for better alternatives to help them unlock the information inside,” Windows Embedded General Manager Kevin Dallas said. “Microsoft’s broad set of technologies and products make it uniquely qualified to help address this problem. We’re working with our partners to create solutions that extend across the full breadth of Microsoft technologies and provide customers with the clarity they need to harness big data.”

Dallas also noted that the operating system is part of its focus on transitioning into a software-plus-services company.

Windows Embedded 8 will come in multiple versions, including Standard, Pro and Industry. The company also plans to release dedicated versions for enterprise handhelds and automotive integration, with more information coming early next year. Meanwhile, Windows Embedded Compact 2013 will focus on “small footprint devices that require flexible hardware, the use of touch- and gesture-based inputs and hard, real-time support,” the company said in a statement.

WindowsEmbeddedRolloutRoadmap Web 730x410 Microsoft issues Windows Embedded 8 preview ahead of March 2013 release

The company communicated its vision for “intelligent systems” last year and has continued to expand on it. It cites forecasts from IDC that expect the embedded device market to become a $1.4 trillion market by 2016.

Microsoft’s announcement comes in the middle of a corporate reshuffle. Windows boss Steven Sinofsky left the company earlier this week, with Julie Larson-Green and Tami Reller set to assume his responsibilities. Former Windows Phone head Andy Lees is also believed to have changed positions. All this uncertainty is having a shaky impact on the company’s stock price, which fell 4 percent yesterday.

➤ Windows Embedded 8 Standard Preview

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