Microsoft acquires Virtual PC products from Connectix

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.

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,” reports MacCentral. Full article here.

News.com is reporting: “Representatives of the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant said Virtual PC for the Mac will continue to be sold and that Microsoft plans to continue developing the software, which has more than 1 million active users. A Microsoft executive said the company did not purchase the software to kill it, nor does Microsoft plan to stop developing its native Macintosh software, such as the Mac OS X version of Office. ‘Mac OS X applications (are the) best solution for heavy access to applications (like Office),’ said Tim McDonough, director of marketing for Microsoft’s Macintosh Business Unit. ‘Virtual PC just takes that to the next level–you can now be compatible with applications that only run on the PC.’

The future for Connectix, and for the products that Microsoft did not acquire, is somewhat unclear. For the next six months, the company’s main focus will be the “graceful transition” of the virtualization products to Microsoft…

In a statement, Apple spoke well of Microsoft’s move.

‘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. “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.’ Full article here.

We will update with more information as it becomes available.

Read SteveJack’s take on the matter in our Opinion Section here.

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