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Windows XP Embedded (XPe) and Axon Media Servers powers Beijing 2008 Olympics

The Windows XP Embedded (XPe) operating system has helped launch the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. The extravagant opening ceremony, held today at 8 PM Beijing time (5 AM PDT), featured the behind-the-scenes use of 120 XPe-based Axon Media Servers, according to Microsoft.

Said to be the largest, costliest extravaganza in Olympic history, the ceremony was watched by 91,000 people at Beijing’s National Stadium and a potential audience of 4 billion worldwide, according to the Associated Press. Approximately 15,000 people reportedly participated in the pageantry, which celebrated China’s first-time role as Olympic host by dramatizing 5,000 years of the country’s history.

Compared to that, Windows XP Embedded played only a small part — but a key one, according to a posting on Microsoft’s Windows Embedded Standard blog by Program Manager Weijuan Shi. As she writes, 120 XPe-based media servers from High End Systems (HES) were installed in the National Stadium’s server room — the largest number ever used for any live event. Linked to HES Wholehog 3 lighting consoles and projectors with moving orbital heads, the Axon Media Servers helped pull off the opening ceremony’s special effects in real time.

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