European Retailers Buy Into Windows XP Embedded As Operating System Of Choice

Microsoft Corp. today announced that major retailers in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) including, Carrefour 8 A Huit, E.LeClerc, JD Group, McDonalds UK, METRO, and Telepizza are adopting or have adopted Microsoft Windows XP Embedded as the operating system of choice for point of sale terminals.

In the retail sector, technology must be reliable and offer ease of use throughout the whole environment for in-store, back office and point of sale (POS). Leading retailers are proving that widespread adoption of new technologies is benefiting their businesses through improved customer experience, efficiency and increased sales. The breadth and depth of Windows XP Embedded adoption by EMEA retailers is evident in a variety of retail industry sub-segments, including grocery, convenience, specialty retail and quick service. Feedback from customers suggests features such as remote boot, SMS 2003 Advanced client, and support of the full Win32 API set makes it a strong choice for their retail environments.

"We have recently deployed 2,000 XPe POS units in E.Leclerc stores. There are 12,000 more over the next five years to place. Infomil recommended the change from a UNIX-based system and deployed flexible colour touch screens for use throughout the stores. Infomil has been able to put this touch screen device together in a reduced timeframe by making use of the Windows Embedded Ecosystem which allows us to work with other Windows Embedded Partners." said M. Pointeau, VP of Microsoft Partner, Infomil."

McDonald's Restaurants UK found Windows XP Embedded provided them with rapid "time to benefit", developing and successfully piloting an entirely new POS platform in less than six months. "We wanted to deploy our POS application on a platform that was robust, compact and had a long-term life," commented Rashpal Kullar, Development Manager for McDonalds Restaurants Ltd. "Having discovered that Windows XP Embedded was available, it was an easy decision."

For METRO Group, it was the scalability of Windows XP Embedded which was most important. "We wanted to be sure that we could use the chosen OS on future hardware", said Silvester Macho, Division Manager, Customer Centric Systems at METRO Group Information Technology (MGI), the national and international IT Service provider for all companies within the METRO Group: Microsoft has guaranteed its partner Wincor Nixdorf long term support for the joint POS solutions, and Microsoft supports customers with tailored pricing and licensing.

Quick execution of the change-over was another important factor in choosing the partner and the components for modernisation as over 50 POS terminals were implemented in some super stores. A closure of a store, even for just a couple of hours, is absolutely out of the question," said Martin Wienke, Head of POS and Store Systems C&C II, MGI. The project team implemented the new Windows XP Embedded systems in one night.

Retailers are choosing Windows XP Embedded because of its retail-hardened reliability, Windows application and driver compatibility, and flexible deployment, management and servicing options. The widespread adoption in the US was evident in January with the announcement that RadioShack, Circuit City and Meijer each had deployed or were deploying Windows XP Embedded specifically for the retail environment. With the trend extending to EMEA, its increasing global popularity is fast making it the industry standard among retailers.

Attending the Global Retail Technology Forum in Barcelona today, Karen Carter, Group Product Manager, Embedded Devices Group at Microsoft stated: We are constantly listening to what our retail customers are telling us they need for their POS devices and we strive to integrate this feedback into the product to ensure we are supplying them with the best tools available. Our product features and functionality are geared towards handling the challenging requirements of the retail sector and we are committed to continue working closely with our partners in EMEA to provide the best products for the retail environment.

Leading IT Analyst, Rob Enderle, CEO, The Enderle Group, recently stated: "Most of the point-of-sale business was slated to be Linux, but most retail wins have been secured by Microsoft. Two years ago, many expected to see the retail market to go to Linux, but the market seems to have defaulted on Microsoft."

The JD Group is a leading furniture retailer, with 1,000 stores in South Africa, Poland and the UK. It provides furniture, appliances, home entertainment, and consumer finance products. The JD Group deployed Microsoft Windows XP Embedded operating system, running on Dell OptiPlex SX260 computers across its 1,000 stores. Microsoft and Dell worked closely to ensure a fast, effective deployment with minimum impact on the JD Group's operations.

Ian Child, Director of IT, JD Group, said: "IT technicians were once required on-site for every new hardware installation, but Windows XP Embedded gives us plug-and-play functionality for a range of peripheral devices. In-store staff can now undertake installations themselves, resulting in reduced overheads.

On Microsofts commitment to the retail industry, Michl Annink, Retail Group Manager for Microsoft Europe, Middle East and Africa said: "Over the next three to five years, substantial innovation and investment will occur at 'the edges' of the retail enterprise, - in the store, for example, where retailers interact with their customers. A focal point for in-store interaction is the point of sale (POS), so deploying the right POS solution is a strategic step for retailers. The decision to move to Windows XP Embedded provides the flexibility and reliability to adopt 'smarter' technology to assist in speedier checkouts and generate real-time customer information, to help improve business efficiency and provide an enhanced service. The Microsoft Smarter Retailing Initiative, launched at the beginning of the year to help retailers compete through innovation not price, is clearly resonating through the retail sector," he continued, and Windows XP Embedded is a core component of Smarter Retailing.

The retail industry is experiencing a shift from proprietary technology and is moving into the Windows environment. Further illustrating the global trend towards Windows based systems in retail, H&M, which has expanded substantially in recent years and has its biggest market in Germany, followed by Sweden and then the UK, is already benefiting from the speed and ease of deployment in half of its 950 stores worldwide today using Windows 2000 Professional.

Peter stling, European IT Director at H&M commented, We have seen many benefits to our business already, which include increased efficiency, reliability of service and seamless integration between back office and front of store. This results in our goal to give quality and fashion at the best price to our customers!

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