Microsoft Kills Virtual PC for Mac

What has been a foregone conclusion for many Mac users has finally been confirmed: Microsoft's Virtual PC is dead. In a statement provided to BetaNews Monday, the company said its Macintosh Business Unit has decided not to go forward with a version of the software native to the Intel platform.

"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," a Microsoft spokesperson said.

She added that the need for virtualization should be satisfied through alternatives provided by Apple and others.


The market for virtualization on Intel-based Mac systems is quickly becoming saturated. Apple currently offers Boot Camp that allows for dual-booting of Mac OS X and Windows, with virtual desktop support coming in Mac OS X "Leopard."

Upstart Parallels offers software that runs any x86 operating system in a window in Mac OS X, and virtualization software maker VMware plans a release for the platform as well.

Virtual PC was acquired in 2003 through Microsoft's purchase of Connectix, which also included the Virtual Server product. It had been widely rumored that Virtual PC was to be discontinued, however Microsoft repeatedly declined to confirm those reports.

Microsoft also said Monday that progress was being made on efforts to offer a Universal Binary version of Mac Office, but the company declined to provide a solid ship date. Additionally, it announced that Visual Basic scripting support would be discontinued in favor of Apple-centric platforms such as AppleScript and Automator.

Even without the scripting support, Microsoft said files with VB macros would still be readable in the next Macintosh version of Office, but they would not be editable.

Finally, Messenger for Mac will be getting a much needed facelift to improve its consumer-centric features. On the list of additions coming in Messenger 6.0, due later this year, is Yahoo interoperability, customized emoticons, and "what I'm listening to" support with iTunes.

Microsoft did not say if video and audio conferencing support would be available in the next version of Messenger for Mac. However, in an interview with BetaNews in January, Microsoft said that those features would be coming to the Mac client.

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