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Everybody seems to be making the assumption that Microsoft bought the Virtual Machine solutions from Connectix with the intention of killing Virtual PC for the Mac. I think this assumption is way off base.

First of all, if Microsoft wanted to kill off Windows emulation on Macs, this isn't the cheapest or most effective way to do it. Apple can come up with their own emulation software if they need to, and Microsoft probably could have done things on the operating system level to make Windows incompatible with the Mac if that was their goal.

The bottom line is that Virtual PC for the Mac makes money for Microsoft because it allows them to sell more copies of Windows. For every copy of Virtual PC installed on a Mac, Microsoft has the opportunity to sell copies of each of the various flavors of their own operating system to that user.

The biggest reason for Microsoft acquiring the Virtual Machine solutions probably had more to do with Virtual PC for Windows, not Virtual PC for Mac. Few people in the Windows world are aware for VPC for Windows' ability to run multiple Windows environments simultaneously on the same Intel box, and there have been many reports on this board of Windows users marveling over VPC for the Mac's ability to do this on Apple hardware. Microsoft's press release touts the ability of VPC to help Windows users upgrade to new versions of Windows without leaving behind their existing applications.

What this announcement may really mean is that Microsoft is looking for new ways to sell copies of Windows without making customers buy new machines. I expect that Microsoft will tout then benefits of VPC for both Windows and the Mac, much better than Connectix ever did. In the end, this development may be a big plus for Apple and Microsoft, and a big blow to Intel and Dell who will miss the boat on this new twist to the upgrade cycle.

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