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Macs take Windows into account

Apple rolls out two new Power Macs that also run Windows using Intel and Cyrix processors, while Connectix will let Mac users run Windows-based programs.

Apple (AAPL) today rolled out two new Power Macintosh computers that also run Microsoft's Windows operating system using Intel and Cyrix processors, while another company is set to offer a software program that lets Mac users run Windows-based programs.

Apple's new systems are a tacit acknowledgement that the company must continue to offer technology based on Intel processors and the Windows 95 operating system from Microsoft in some of its computers or else risk losing sales to Windows machines. A number of Apple products have also offered PC-compatibility cards.

The company says the systems are targeted at business and education customers wanting to share data with Windows-based systems. Users can run Macintosh and Windows 95 applications simultaneously and switch between the two environments without shutting either system down.

In related news, Connectix today said it is developing software that lets a Mac run Windows 95 and DOS games, multimedia titles, and other applications.

Although emulator programs already exist for the Macintosh, Connectix says its product, called Virtual PC, will be the first that supports all the hardware functions of a standard Pentium-based PC: Sound Blaster Pro support, Ethernet networking, and peripheral support for CD-ROM drives, modems, and printers. The software also allows for sharing files between the Mac and Windows environments.

Connectix says that the software will also let Macs to run Windows NT, Windows 3.1, OpenStep, and OS/2 operating system software. The company expects to ship Virtual PC in June 1997. The software will require Mac OS System 7.5 or later. No pricing was announced.

Apple's new Power Mac 7300/180 "PC Compatible" system is based on a 180-MHz PowerPC 604e processor and has 32MB RAM. The PC Compatibility card has a 166-MHz Pentium processor from Intel and 16MB of RAM.

The Power Mac 4400/200 PC Compatible is based on a 200-MHz PowerPC 603e processor with 32MB RAM. The PC Compatibility card has a P166-MHz 6x86 processor from Cyrix and 16MB of RAM. Both systems also come with 2GB hard drive, 12X CD-ROM, Ethernet, and Windows 95.

The estimated retail price of the 7300/180 PC Compatible is expected to be $3,200 and $2,400 for the 4400/200 PC Compatible.

The new systems are expected to be available in volume by May. A PC Compatibility PCI card for use in other Macintosh systems will be available soon, the company says, and will feature a 166-MHz Pentium processor from Intel, 16MB of RAM, and DOS 6.22 for an estimated street price of $1,000.