MS Gets Virtual PC from Connectix

Wednesday, February 19th, 2003 @ 7:51 pm | Mac

Microsoft’s gone and acquired everything related to Virtual PC from Connectix. My first though was “uh-oh, this could be Word 6 all over again.” For those who don’t remember, Word 6 suffered from abysmal performance and looked like a carbon-copy of the Windows version. It wasn’t until Office 98 that Microsoft finally replaced Word 6 with a useable version.

Since the release of Office 98, many people have argued that the Mac versions of Office have actually been better than the Windows versions. It can’t thrill the Microsoft higher-ups that people are saying “Want the best version of Office? Then get a Mac.” If Microsoft wanted throw enough engineering resources at the problem, they could probably find a way to marry VPC and Office. This would let Microsoft release a single version of Office and eliminate the advantages of running Office on the Mac. Or, they could just put VPC and Office into the same box and say “We’re done.”

Glen Fleishman thinks Microsoft might consider something like this if they can get VPC working fast enough to make emulationion worthwhile. Of course, past history shows us that performance might not be Microsoft’s most pressing concern.

Either of these approaches would be bad for Mac users. The Mac BU has done a decent job of integrating OS X features and cross-platform compatibility into Office X. It would be a shame to see this work lost.

Dan Crevier made the following post to the MacOSX-talk mailing list the following afternoon:

Please see <> for more info. The Mac VPC team will be joining MacBU. The development team will be reporting to me. Don’t worry, it’s not going away. We’ve got lots of exciting things planned.

Dan’s been working on Mac software at Microsoft for a while now — he’s worked on both Outlook Express and Entourage — so we can probably expect to see something coming VPC-related out of the Mac BU. I certainly don’t know what to expect. Since it sounds like Microsoft was mostly interested in the server-related portions of the Virtual PC family, Microsoft may not know what it wants to do with the Macintosh products.

Could this turn out well for Mac users? Possibly. Will it? I have my doubts. On the one hand Microsoft says they’ll continue development of VPC. On the other, I’m still waiting for my copy of HALO.

Michael and Chris have weighed in on this topic as well.

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