Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday announced that they had acquired Connectix Corp.’s Virtual PC products, including Virtual PC for Mac, Virtual PC for Windows and Virtual Server. Microsoft also hired many of the Connectix employees that worked on the products to continue development.
“What this means for Mac users is that Microsoft’s Macintosh Business Unit (MacBU) will be responsible for supporting and shipping all current versions of Virtual PC and development for all future versions of the product,” Tim McDonough, director of marketing and business development for the Macintosh Business Unit, told MacCentral.
“Adding Virtual PC to its product portfolio is yet another example of Microsoft’s continued commitment to the Mac platform,” said Ron Okamoto, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations. “For years, Virtual PC has helped people who want to own a Mac but need to run legacy PC applications. We’re glad to see Virtual PC go into such good hands.”
While the sale today will see the core products leave the company, Connectix will continue to operate, at least for the next several months. Company officials couldn’t say what would happen after the transition of the products to Microsoft was complete.
“The main focus of Connectix over the next six months is to make the transition as smooth as possible for our products and our customers,” Connectix Vice President Kurt Schmucker told MacCentral. “After six months, we’ll see, but we don’t know yet.”
Schmucker is one of the Connectix employees that will join Microsoft as the Lead Product Manager for Virtual PC for Windows.
The MacBU has made several announcements recently for Mac users, including forthcoming support for Exchange servers in Entourage and MSN for Mac OS X. Development of the next version of Microsoft Office is also ongoing, something McDonough says shows the ongoing commitment of the MacBU to the platform.
“This is just another sign that we’re committed to the Mac by broadening the products we bring to the platform,” said McDonough. “This is a product we will continue to offer and improve.”
McDonough said that the acquisition of Virtual PC fits in well with the MacBU’s strategy of offering Mac users compatibility with their Windows using counterparts. Applications like Microsoft Office allow near seamless integration between platforms and the MacBU will work to make Virtual PC work even better with the Windows OS and Windows-based Microsoft applications.
“This fits very well with how we look at our strategy — this is all about compatibility,” said McDonough. “Our products are all about letting Mac users be compatible with people running Windows; this is a natural extension of that strategy.”
While Microsoft has no immediate plans to change Virtual PC for Mac, they do have a development team, marketing and planning teams already in place and are evaluating the product line. Microsoft is looking at the current product roadmap from Connectix and will decide where to take the product at a later date.
“I think this is great,” said Schmucker. “The expanded resources available for Virtual PC Mac in terms of research, development and support from Microsoft will make the product that much better.”
With the inclusion of Virtual PC into the product line of the MacBU, Microsoft will now support the Virtual PC application, the operating system that runs in Virtual PC and any Windows-based Microsoft applications that run in Virtual PC.
The goal for the MacBU is to have seamless compatibility between Windows and Mac OS X, according to McDonough.
“We think this is a great thing for the future of Virtual PC,” said McDonough. There is probably nobody better than the Mac Business Unit at Microsoft to bring Windows onto the Mac.”
Update: Added comment from Ron Okamoto, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations. Second update: Added comments from Connectix Vice President Kurt Schmucker.