Why Choose Avnet?

At Avnet, we help our customers turn their ideas into technology. We supply and deliver to contract manufacturers and original equipment manufacturers worldwide – whether they are entrepreneurial start-ups or global businesses looking for a competitive edge.

We support you with advice, product design and development expertise to be your true partner in getting your ideas into the real world, and to market more quickly, more cost effectively and more efficiently. Our experience means you can trust us to support you with all aspects of your project and product.

Our software team includes Microsoft software specialists and architects, who can advise on the optimal setup from a data/sensor level, to IoT gateways, to OEM devices, to on-premise server solutions all the way to the Cloud. Avnet can also support customers in better utilizing their data – which could for example help with predictive maintenance or in building new services and offerings. To support cloud technologies Avnet has built a unique “IoTConnect” Platform-as-a-Service solution on top of Microsoft Azure, which is recommended by Microsoft.

young engineers building a project

Windows Embedded and IoT Operating Systems

The Windows Embedded channel, or OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) channel sits alongside the other channels of Desktop, System builder and EPG divisions, and is focused on embedded and IoT devices and systems across industries such as Healthcare, Transportation, Industrial and Building Automation, Retail and others. In the Embedded channel, manufacturers have access to technology for 10 years without the need to buy the latest version and giving more longevity to embedded products. Importantly, extended support is included with all embedded licenses, giving Microsoft security updates and critical patching for 10 years.

Embedded licensing is designed specifically for OEMs to use Microsoft products on proprietary devices in dedicated scenarios. For commercial products like Server 2019 or Windows 10 Pro, the buyer is the end user, who has the direct relationship with Microsoft. Because Embedded licensing is only available for use on dedicated function devices and is not for general purpose computing, a COA (Certificate of Authenticity) sticker is required for each device or system and product keys are tied to the system, not the company or user.

Embedded operating systems are based on the Windows platform (Windows Enterprise for Windows 10 IoT) and contain all the features, security and additional controls not available in ordinary OS licenses. For example, it is possible to reduce the software footprint, control updates, lock-down ports, and enter “Kiosk mode” where only the business application and not windows underneath is accessible.

Embedded Servers all available in all versions (Standard, Enterprise, Datacenter etc.). In most cases the installation files are identical to standard versions. In addition, the Embedded license provides full access to additional features and controls in the server. In the Embedded channel, additional server licenses exist to fit your specific configuration and it is possible to buy a specific server product and licence for 15 years. This means you don’t have to buy the latest version and do subsequent downgrade actions, which is the only option in the commercial/mainstream channel.

Special CAL-less license

Avnet can also offer the new CAL-Less Server licenses, which are sold under special and beneficial license terms. CAL-less means that User and Device CALs are not required and this is often preferred with many of our customers and can mean that there are substantial savings on offer, especially where multiple licences are required.

Embedded SQL Servers

Embedded SQL Servers contain the same Embedded benefits including 10 years support and are often significantly cheaper than commercial licenses. Only active compute nodes in an appliance need an Embedded licence, compared to core based licenses when everything does.


Choosing Windows Embedded software gives you access to a number of benefits not available to regular (non-embedded) customers, such as:

  • More licence options and a more competitive pricing structure, ensuring the licence you buy is the most cost effective for your business.
  • The ability to build, sell and distribute product globally with the Microsoft Embedded licence installed.
  • More control over when updates are scheduled.
  • Additional software functionality and security options such as extra ports and users.
  • Extended product availability and support (typically 10years plus the option to extend by another 3-5 depending on location), helping you maximise your investment.
  • No need to buy the latest commercial licence and subsequently downgrade at an additional cost.
  • One unique key for OS Desktop
  • OEM Activation (OA) rights for Embedded Servers.
  • Worldwide shipment – this is not limited to one region as it is in other channels.
  • Access to extended vendor support such as Microsoft technical support.
  • Access to a detailed Avnet Azure reporting tool which is updated every 24 hours to display consumption and price.
  • A range of consultancy, training and extra support services not open to non-Embedded customers.
  • Even though they include all the above enhancements, Embedded licences are still typically better value than commercial licenses.

Microsoft provides the technologies and expertise you need to capitalize on the Internet of Things by building an intelligent system to gather, store and analyze your organization’s data. From devices on the edge of your network, to back-end systems and services, the data that flows through your enterprise will drive a new level of business intelligence.

The Windows Embedded operating system for innovative and small-footprint devices is designed specifically for embedded developers who need to bring new devices to market quickly and at the lowest possible cost.

Embedded Operating Systems available through Avnet

We can offer a full menu of Windows Embedded operating systems from Microsoft.

Avnet's Microsoft embedded and IoT product families chart

How to qualify for Microsoft Embedded CLA Licencing

In order to be able to use an Embedded licence from Microsoft, you need to be approved by Microsoft as an Embedded OEM Manufacturer. With Avnet as your distributor, we can facilitate the CLA process for you. There is no cost associated with this and Avnet can usually process this in a matter of days on your behalf.

technician working on manufacturing production line tablet


What we will need to know is:

  1. Your CLA number if you have one (if you don’t have a CLA number, we can arrange this for you)
  2. Your company name and address
  3. The full name of the person who has responsibility in your company for the CLA agreement with Microsoft.
  4. The email address of the above person.

What happens then is:

  1. Your CLA contact will receive a link directly from Microsoft, with the CLA details and approval process.
  2. Once approved by Microsoft, your company will be issued with an Embedded CLA number, which will allow you to purchase Embedded licences via Avnet.
  3. Your company can buy embedded licenses individually and Avnet can also preinstall these as part of a Server, Workstation or laptop project as part of this proposal or new engagements going forward.
  4. Once a Purchase Order has been received by Avnet for e.g. individual licenses, they are typically shipped within 1-2 business days and delivered within 14 days and the required location.
  5. Compared to normal licenses, Embedded licenses have different part numbers. We can ensure you have access to instantly download and access the latest Microsoft releases via the OPK Portal for Embedded Customers. This ensures that your technical team can test and build master OS images at no cost. Licences only need to be purchased when the products go into production.
  6. In most cases customers provide Avnet with a Server image, which is subsequently installed on the hardware. Avnet can also handle the image creation, which is subsequently signed off and approved by you as the OEM Manufacture and product owner.


Want to apply for an OEM Customer Licence Agreement (CLA)? Fill in this form and we will do the rest!

Applying for a CLA is quick and easy with Avnet. Fill in the boxes below and we will submit an application for you and will be in touch!



Avnet Software Consultancy Services

Softweb, a recent acquisition by Avnet is a dedicated team of software development consultants that can support customers in building master images. By understanding what you are looking to achieve, the team can help with upgrade strategies, language selection, and a whole host of other services. Whatever your needs, our team are here to help!

Software services

hand shape printing on 3D printer

Training: Get a consultant on-site to sit together with your people and train them and at the same time build the images on the actual systems.

Typically 2-5 days – depending on the agreed agenda and actions.

(Some image work might be required subsequently by your own staff.)

Remote image build: We ship the equipment to Avnet’s location and a consultant builds an image remotely, which fits 100% on your specific device and requirements. In these cases, we will ask a series of detailed questions to ensure the image is according to your specifications.

Customer Image validation. We validate an existing image built by your team and suggest improvements if required. In all cases, the image will be signed back to you for your final verification and subsequent control.

We can also help with Avnet Integrated solutions, Deployment and Recovery and Image Maintenance.

Windows Embedded Licence Dates

To assist with planning, we have listed below critical dates when Microsoft Windows products go into End-of-support (when Microsoft stop providing fixes, updates and technical support) and End-of-licence, when the product is no longer available from Microsoft.

A huge advantage of Embedded licenced products is that they include extended Microsoft support for 10 years and are also able to receive critical patching and security updates in this period, extending the life of your embedded products.

Windows Client Operating Systems

Product End of Support End of Life
Windows CE 4.2 7/9/2013 6/1/2018
Windows CE 5.0 10/14/2014 8/31/2019
Windows CE 6.0 4/10/2018 2/28/2022
Windows CE 7.0 4/13/2021 2/28/2026
Compact 2013 10/10/2023 5/31/2028
Windows XP FES 4/8/2014 12/31/2016
Windows XP WES 1/8/2019 1/8/2024
Windows Xpe 1/12/2016 1/30/2017
Windows XP POS 4/9/2019 2/11/2024
Windows 7 FES 1/14/2020 9/30/2024
Windows 7 WES 10/13/2020 7/27/2025
Windows 7 WS7E 10/13/2020 7/27/2025
Windows 7 WS7P 10/13/2020 7/27/2025
Windows 7 POS 10/12/2021 9/10/2026
Windows 8.1 FES 7/11/2023 3/31/2028
Windows 8.1 Industry 7/11/2023 4/30/2028
Windows 8 WES 7/11/2023 3/30/2028
Windows 10 IoT Ent LTSB 2015 10/14/2025 7/31/2025
Windows 10 IoT Ent LTSB 2016 10/13/2026 7/31/2026
Windows 10 IoT Ent LTSC 2019 1/9/2029 11/30/2028

Windows Server Operating Systems

Product End of Support End of Life
Windows Server 2003 7/14/2015 5/28/2018
Windows Server 2003 R2 7/14/2015 5/28/2018
Windows Server® 2008 for Embedded Systems 1/14/2020 2/6/2023
Windows Server® 2008R2 for Embedded Systems 1/14/2020 2/6/2023
Windows Server 2012 for Embedded Systems 1/10/2023 6/30/2027
Windows Server 2012 R2 for Embedded Systems 1/10/2023 6/30/2027
Windows Server 2016 for Embedded Systems 1/11/2027 12/31/2031
Windows Server® IoT 2019 9/1/2029 12/31/2029
Microsoft® SQL Server® 2005 for Embedded Systems 4/12/2016 4/1/2021
SQL Server 2008 for Embedded Systems 7/9/2019 7/31/2023
SQL Server 2008 R2 for Embedded Systems 7/9/2019 7/31/2023
SQL Server 2012 7/12/2022 3/31/2027
SQL Server 2014 for Embedded Systems 7/9/2024 3/31/2027
SQL Server 2016 for Embedded Systems 7/14/2026 7/31/2031
SQL Server 2017 IoT 7/14/2027 12/31/2032
SQL Server 2019 IoT 7/1/2025         8/1/2030

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If you have any questions about Embedded software, or would like to apply for a CLA, fill in the boxes below and we will be in touch!

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