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Virtual PC 7.0 to be released to manufacturing this week

After several months of delay, Microsoft is preparing to release a new version of its Virtual PC Windows emulation software to manufacturing.

According to tipsters, on Tuesday Microsoft will deliver to CD manufactures its long awaited Virtual PC 7.0 software with Windows XP. Along with the emulation software, the company will also begin retail packaging of its Macintosh Office 2004 Professional edition.

Retail copies of Virtual PC 7.0 and Office 2004 Professional edition will see about three to four weeks in transition, and should begin appearing on retail store shelves by early October.

During the transition period, sources said that the Redmond, Wash.-based development team will continue to work on a maintenance update to the software that will be made available at a future date.

According to earlier reports, Virtual PC 7.0 will support dual processor Macintosh systems and will featuring G5 compatibility and optimization. The software is also said to boast improved support and management of peripherals and native graphic card support.

Microsoft originally announced Virtual PC 7.0 along with Office 2004 for the Mac in January, but reported stability issues delayed the release into the summer. In July, Microsoft said that it would further delay Virtual PC till October while it awaited the completion of Windows XP Service Pack 2.

Windows XP Service Pack 2 was released to manufacturing earlier this month and is slowly making its way to customers.