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Early December GA Date Set for Microsoft Virtual PC

Microsoft began telling customers on Wednesday that Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 would be generally available on Dec. 2.

The product will be sold through retail and volume licensing channels, and will also be available through MSDN subscriptions. Its general availability comes about three weeks after its Nov. 10 release to manufacturing.

Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 is the first Microsoft-branded version of the PC virtualization software Microsoft acquired earlier this year from Connectix Corp. Virtual machine technology allows a user to run more than one operating system on a machine. The virtual machine software abstracts the hardware from the guest operating systems, allowing each guest operating system to act as if it were controlling the hardware.

Of the many uses for virtual machine software, Microsoft is emphasizing its potential for migrating MS-DOS, IBM, OS/2, Windows 9.x or Windows NT 4.0 applications to Windows XP machines.

The Virtual PC software can be hosted on Windows XP Professional or Windows 2000 Professional. Supported guest operating systems include Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows NT 4.0, Windows Me, Windows 98, Windows 95, MS-DOS 6.22 and OS/2. Linux, Netware and FreeBSD are also potential target operating systems, but Microsoft will not support those competing operating systems.

Microsoft is pricing Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 aggressively. At a $129 stand-alone, starting price (volume discounts are available), Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 is $100 less than Connectix Virtual PC and $170 to $200 less than market leader VMWare Workstation 4. The VMWare product sells for $299 as a download or $329 in a box.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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