Microsoft Dumps Virtual PC For Mac

The news came on the heel of the announcement by VMware that it's releasing virtual machine software for the Mac.

At Microsoft, the company's Mac Business Unit (MacBU) is giving Virtual PC the pink slip, because, a spokesperson said in e-mail to TechWeb: "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."

Instead, Microsoft is recommending "alternative solutions offered by Apple and other vendors" to those who want to run Windows and its applications on a Mac.

Earlier this year, Apple unveiled a beta version of its dual-boot technology, dubbed Boot Camp. One virtual machine package, Parallels Desktop, is already available, while VMware said Monday that it would have its virtualization software in testing before the end of the year.

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When Apple introduced its first Intel-powered Macs in January, Microsoft hinted it would update Virtual PC for the Mac to work with both the new systems and older boxes equipped with PowerPC processors. Rumors of its demise, however, have been spreading for months.

On Monday, the MacBU also said that it's made significant progress on a Universal Binary version of Mac Office, but did not offer up a release date. "Tens of millions of lines of code have been 100 percent transitioned to Xcode on the road to a Universal version of Office for Mac," the Microsoft spokesperson claimed.

In January, Microsoft and Apple signed an agreement that committed the former to develop and sell its Mac Office suite for at least five years. While Microsoft has never disclosed a ship date for the successor to Office 2004 for the Mac, analysts then pegged the release of a Universal Binary edition of the suite as in the second half of 2006 or the first half of 2007.

Microsoft will unveil Messenger for Mac 6.0 "later this year," create a Universal (and free) version of Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac at some unspecified date, and ditch support for Visual Basic scripting in the next edition of Office on the Mac.