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Verdict still out on future of Microsoft\'s Virtual PC

Despite the release of Apple\'s Boot Camp technology, Microsoft says it is still debating the future of Virtual PC and continues to work with the Mac maker on plans to deliver a version of the Windows emulation environment that will function on Apple\'s new Intel Macs.

\"We are continuing to work with Apple on a possible next version of Virtual PC,\" said Amanda Lefebvre, marketing manager for Microsoft’s Mac Business Unit. \"We still don’t have all the answers, but we are trying to understand what changes need to happen in their operating system and what changes we need to make.\"

At Macworld Expo earlier this year, the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant publicly committed to developing an Intel-native version of its Mac Office suite for the next five years. However, it did not make similar promises in regards to Virtual PC, saying only that it was working with Apple on the future of the product.

Since Virtual PC emulates the Windows environment, Apple\'s move away from PowerPC chips and towards Intel processors requires substantial changes to Virtual PC. \"This is like building a brand new version for us,\" Lefebvre said. \"It’s not just a new operating system, it’s new hardware, too—this is a really big transition. It’s hard to say right now what it will look like or when it will be.\"

Still, Microsoft believes that Virtual PC\'s seamless compatibility with Mac OS X and the ability to run Windows without rebooting may provide the market opportunity for a revamp of the product. The company also noted that legacy PowerPC users may continue to demand a Windows emulation product.

In related news, Microsoft had only good things to say about Apple\'s new Boot Camp technology in a statement obtained by The New York Times. \"Windows is a great operating system,\" the company said. \"We\'re pleased that Apple customers are excited about running it, and that Apple is responding to meet the demand.\"