CNET: Power Mac G5 may be fast but it doesn’t do Windows (VPC on G5 article)

“Apple’s new Power Mac G5 may be the fastest Macintosh around, but it doesn’t work as well as its predecessors with Microsoft Windows software. Apple Computer’s new Power Mac G5 may be the fastest Macintosh around, but it is less able than its predecessors to run Microsoft Windows software,” reports Ina Fried for CNET.

“That’s because Virtual PC, the leading emulation program for running Windows on a Mac, doesn’t support the G5. Microsoft, which acquired Virtual PC from Connectix in February, said a fix for the problem is not around the corner. ‘It will be in the next (full) version of Virtual PC,’ a Microsoft representative said Wednesday, adding that a new edition of Virtual PC is expected within a year. In addition, the representative said the release is due at about the same time as the launch of Office 11, the next version of Office for the Mac. Earlier this month, Microsoft said it was working on Office 11 but would not comment on when it might be ready,” Fried reports.

Fried writes, “Although it is not clear how many Mac owners actually run Virtual PC, it has long been used by Apple as part of its case that the Mac can work well in a world dominated by Windows-based PCs. On its current Web page listing of top myths about the Mac, the company notes that 15,000 programs run on the Mac but adds that ‘if you do encounter that rare program which isn’t available for the Mac, you can still run it using Virtual PC.’ It has also made reference to Virtual PC in its ‘Switch’ advertising campaign, designed to woo Windows users to the Mac.”

“Microsoft said it learned of the problem with Virtual PC and the G5 when it got its first test machine ‘a couple months ago.’ The company, based in Redmond, Wash., said it has no plans to release an interim G5-compatible update to Virtual PC before the next version comes out,” Fried writes.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: That first paragraph is a doozy! This article is more of the same Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) from the mainstream “tech” media that derives the bulk of its revenues from the Wintel hegemony.


  1. Yep.

    Blame Apple and the G5 for their shortcomings.

    Brilliant marketing!

    P.S. Mac users should have learned by now that anything you read on CNET regarding the Mac must be viewed with the highest degree of suspicion. They serve their masters well.

  2. Ummm, since when do Apple computers revolve around M$ software? have they forgotten that Apple has it’s own OS?!?!

    And come on, the one statement about macs not working as well as pc’s with Microcrap Winblows is priceless. Without a doubt, OS X blows XP out of the water.

  3. The problem, as I understand it, is the difference in byte-ordering between PPC and x86. VPC uses little-known CPU instructions that can handle the x86-style byte order, but the G5 doesn’t have those instructions.

    Since the problem is all the way down at the CPU hardware level, it *won’t* be an easy one to fix. And even when if it is, there will be a speed penalty for converting the byte order of most data.

  4. Sorry to say it, but this *is* a big deal. The Mac can handle 95% of what PC users need, but VPC provides that missing 5%. Sadly, that 5% is probably enough to dissuade some potential switchers.

    It flat-out amazes me that Apple never bought Connectix themselves. From MODE32 to RAM Doubler to VPC, Connectix consistently proved that they could hack the Mac OS better than Apple itself. And as I describe above, VPC alone of such strategic importance. What the HELL was Jobs thinking??

  5. VPC is a great product, but by no means universally needed. If you use it (I do) then just keep your old PC–or Mac–on hand until the app is updated.

    Would it be fair to say that Connectix did some things with VPC that were technically “poor practice” but helped VPC perform better? And that now MS must deal with that?

    I’m not going to jump and blame anyone–Connectix, Apple, or MS. It’s a shame–for a while–but these things happen, and then it will be fixed next year. Write to MS and ask for VPC 7. Show demand.

    The number of people who insist on having ONLY a G5 and no other computer alongside it, AND who need Windows, is not that huge a number of people. G5s will sell just great on how they run REAL mac software. And then the current disappointment will be over with VPC 7.

  6. Connectix did nothing that any game developer does not routinely do to improve a game’s performance; practically write code right down on the bare metal. However, big and little endian issues are a well-known problem. I cannot belive that relevant people at Apple, Microsoft, and Connectix were not aware of this issue and knew the ramifications the moment the G5 first surfaced as a rumor.

  7. This is why Connectix sold VirtualPC. They knew the G5 was coming down the pike and the jig was up. Too much effort to rewrite, so let Microsoft deal with it… or not deal with it.

  8. I don’t see a vast difference from Apple’s iTMS strategy (RIAA test bedding assumed* strategy aside) and the VPC strategy, both are using deliberate lag to switch platforms. It’s just business.

    If Apple were confident enough in the security and uptake of iTMS surely they would have pitched a Wintel option to the RIAA also. Hell, the Wintel iPods were racing out the door at that point (as they still are). Hang back a bit and let’s see how many switchers we can grab until necessary.

    Steve Jack’s right IMHO. The juicebag’s at MS played a good move. MS own two key components in the ‘switch’ campaign; Office X & VPC. Apple must be aware of this vunerabilty and you can bet your bottom dollar, like Safari and Keynote, a mammoth word processing and spreadsheet app are getting developed in the deepest corridors at Cupertino.

    * I’m unsure if the RIAA have publicly stated that they agreed to Apple’s iTMS arrangement because of it’s low risk.

  9. I don’t see it as that big a deal, but maybe that’s because I won’t be getting a G5 anytime soon 🙁

    I don’t see it as something done on purpose though. From my understanding, the G3 and G4 were built with the hope that Windows would run on it some day, but IBM shelved that idea with the G5, and little endian capabilities were dropped which makes VirtualPC incompatible. It’s not MS’s fault because they’ve only had the software for 6 months, and perhaps they didn’t have plans to upgrade it in that short a timespan. At any rate, it’ll be available eventually. I was, however, very disappointed to hear about RealPC. I held real hopes that it would be the non-MS answer to VPC. Now apparently, there is none.

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