Windows Mobile was never just a consumer product; it was also a significant player in handheld terminals, in-vehicle systems, and ruggedized consoles for business and industry.

But that whole branch of business-oriented Windows Mobile devices used to be overseen by Microsoft’s Mobile Communications Business group (MCB), the same group responsible for Windows Mobile-powered consumer devices, despite the fact that they were very different.

Yesterday, David Wurster, senior product manager for Windows Embedded, announced that things will no longer be run that way. Now, all of the ruggedized and industry-specific device development will be the responsibility of the Windows Embedded Business group, regardless of their operating system (WinCE, WinMo.)

This means that consumer mobile products is finally its own division.

“We decided to make this move for a variety of reasons,” Wurster said. “First, Windows Embedded’s strength and experience in building software for specialized devices make WEB the ideal group to lead the handheld terminal and ruggedized device space. Second, with the transition of support to WEB, Microsoft gives the handheld terminal and ruggedized device products a holistic roadmap across both platforms and into the future. MCB will continue to focus on the mobile phone needs of customers with Windows Phones.”

Windows Embedded is expecting a new release based on Windows Mobile 6.5 optimized for handheld terminals and ruggedized devices, as well as a full roadmap with technologies from Windows Phone 7 and Windows Embedded Compact 7 for this market.