Microsoft: Virtual PC 7 coming this October

Microsoft Corp. on Thursday indicated that Virtual PC for Mac Version 7 will likely be released in October, though the schedule is entirely dependent on Microsoft's efforts to ship a new service pack for its Windows XP operating system. This is the first clarification the company has provided about Virtual PC 7's release schedule since confirming in May that its release would be delayed. Virtual PC enables Mac users to run various versions of Windows software applications and operating systems by emulating the characteristics of an actual hardware PC on their Macintosh. Previously sold by Connectix Corp., Virtual PC was acquired by Microsoft in February, 2003.

Mac users have been anticipating Virtual PC 7's release as it will be the first version to support Power Mac G5 computers -- the emulation software needed to be extensively retooled to work with the IBM PowerPC 970 microprocessors that power the G5. Announcing Virtual PC 7's delay in May, Microsoft's Mac Business Unit (MacBU) indicated that the software would be released "in the second half of 2004."

On Thursday, Microsoft offered further clarification in a statement sent to news media. "We are waiting for the release of Windows XP SP2 in order to offer the most recent, most secure version of Windows XP to our Virtual PC for Mac customers. Windows XP SP2 release has moved to August, which has impacted our schedule. Based on this, we anticipate that Virtual PC 7 with Win XP Professional and Home will release to manufacturing in September and be on store shelves by early October," read the statement.

"Virtual PC 7 with Windows 2000 and the Standalone and Upgrade versions will be available a few months after this debut," said the company. "Should the Windows XP SP2 release date change the Virtual PC 7 availability date will change accordingly."

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