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Microsoft Acquires Real-Time IoT Platform for Embedded Development

On Thursday Microsoft announced that it has acquired San Diego, Calif.-based Express Logic, creators of real-time operating systems (RTOS) for "industrial grade" embedded and Internet of Things (IoT) development.

Among its many solutions, Express Logic is known for its ThreadX RTOS for microcontrollers, which has been installed in more than 6 billion devices worldwide. It is often deployed in "resource-constrained" environments that need security and edge processing but have low power available, such as light bulbs, temperature gauges, industrial controls and medical devices.

Features of ThreadX RTOS include a very small footprint (2KB instruction area and 1KB RAM), multicore support, pre-emption threshold scheduling, MISRA compliance and EAL4+ Security certification.

The company said that both its solutions and its staff were now becoming part of Microsoft. "As part of Microsoft, we believe our customers will be even better positioned to unlock exciting new capabilities of the IoT," Express Logic stated in a press release regarding the acquisition.

"With this acquisition, we will unlock access to billions of new connected endpoints, grow the number of devices that can seamlessly connect to Azure and enable new intelligent capabilities," Microsoft said in its announcement.

As to how ThreadX RTOS will fit in with its current Azure Sphere and Azure IoT Edge offerings, Microsoft explained: "Our goal is to make Express Logic's ThreadX RTOS available as an option for real time processing requirements on an Azure Sphere device and also enable ThreadX-powered devices to connect to Azure IoT Edge devices when the IoT solution calls for edge computing capabilities. While we recommend Azure Sphere for customers' most secured connections to the cloud, where Azure Sphere isn't possible in highly constrained devices, we recommend Express Logic's ThreadX RTOS over other RTOS options in the industry because of its additional certifications and out-of-the-box connectivity to Azure IoT Hub."

Microsoft noted that the acquisition is part of its promised $5 billion investment in IoT that it pledged to make in April 2018. The price it paid for Express Logic was not revealed.

About the Author

Becky Nagel is the vice president of Web & Digital Strategy for 1105's Converge360 Group, where she oversees the front-end Web team and deals with all aspects of digital strategy. She also serves as executive editor of the group's media Web sites, and you'll even find her byline on PureAI.com, the group's newest site for enterprise developers working with AI. She recently gave a talk at a leading technical publishers conference about how changes in Web technology may impact publishers' bottom lines. Follow her on twitter @beckynagel.

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