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Microsoft To Discontinue Virtual PC for Mac

Microsoft this week announced that it will discontinue work on future versions of Virtual PC for the Mac. Meanwhile, leading virtualization competitor VMware has announced it is working on software to enable Intel-based Macs to run x86 operating systems -- including Windows and Linux -- in virtual machines simultaneously with Mac OS X.

"The Mac Business Unit has made the decision not to move forward with a Universal version of Virtual PC at this time ... Developing a high-quality virtualization solution, such as Virtual PC, for the Intel-based Mac is similar to creating a version 1.0 release due to how closely the product integrates with Mac hardware," Microsoft said in a statement.

Additionally, Microsoft will kill support of Visual Basic scripting in the next version of Office for Mac. Instead, the company said it will expand support for standard Mac scripting methods such as AppleScript and Automator.

Microsoft's statements came during Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference 2006 in San Francisco. While the company will not be moving forward with Virtual PC for the Mac, it will continue to provide product support.

"[Microsoft] still recognizes that customers continue to need access to Windows applications from their Intel-based Macs, and feels confident that alternative solutions offered by Apple and other vendors," the statement said.

Interestingly enough, also at the conference, VMware announced and demoed a new virtualization product targeting that market.

"Virtual machines created with any of VMware's products will run on Intel-based Macs and, similarly, non-Mac OS X virtual machines created with the new product will run on the latest versions of other VMware platform products," VMware said in a statement.

The product will also be able to take advantage of VMware's growing library of more than 250 virtual appliances -- including ones for security, load balancing, collaboration, databases, development, communications and business applications. Virtual appliances are pre-built, pre-configured software applications, packaged in virtual machines that run on VMware's virtualization products.

Besides Windows and Linux, it will support NetWare and Solaris. Beta testing is scheduled to begin later in the year.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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