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Microsoft delays Virtual PC 7 for Macs

It just takes longer to make a program that will make a Macintosh run Windows software, Microsoft reports. The delay will also push back the release of one version of Office 2004 for Mac.

Microsoft has delayed until later this year the release of Virtual PC 7, the latest version of a program that allows Windows software to run on the Macintosh.

The software maker said the software needs more testing than anticipated. Microsoft acquired the Virtual PC product last year, when it purchased the assets of Connectix. Microsoft said Virtual PC 7--the first Microsoft-developed version of the software--will now arrive sometime in the second half of the year, instead of the first half, as originally planned.

"Initially, our development and testing time line was estimated based on our experience with development of Office," Microsoft product manager Jessica Sommer said in a statement. "The developing, testing and bug fix cycle with Virtual PC is longer than that of Office and the testing more vigorous than previous version(s) of Virtual PC. Because of this, we have adjusted our release timing to match a more realistic schedule."

The decision also means that one version of Office 2004 for the Mac--the Professional Edition--will be delayed, because it will contain Virtual PC 7. Other versions of Office 2004 are just now making their way onto store shelves and will be widely available later this month.

Microsoft said the delay was also affected by the previously announced delay of Windows XP Service Pack 2. Some versions of Virtual PC come with a copy of Windows XP, and Microsoft said it wanted to include the updated version, which has been pushed back until July.

The new version of Virtual PC is especially important to Power Mac G5 owners, because prior versions have been incompatible with the new processor. Microsoft said last August that it would add G5 support with the next full version of Virtual PC.