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Mac cloners to bundle Virtual PC

Connectix's PC emulation software will be bundled on Macintosh clones, allowing users to run Windows-based programs.

Connectix, a developer of Macintosh software utilities, today said that its PC emulation software will be bundled on the systems of all major Macintosh clone vendors.

Connectix says that the software, called Virtual PC, allows Mac users to run Windows-based programs with greater performance and compatibility than other software-based emulators.

Mac users have grown accustomed to programs such as Web browsers being released for Windows systems anywhere from weeks to months ahead of Mac versions. With Virtual PC, they can now run Windows programs, though having a powerful Mac helps.

Motorola and Umax Computer will bundle the software on all new systems. Power Computing, a direct systems vendor which builds to order, will offer the program as an option for its systems.

Emulators typically work by making the operating system pretend to be another operating system, like Windows 95 or DOS, but this method sometimes leads to hardware compatibility problems. Connectix says that Virtual PC supports all the hardware functions of a standard MMX Pentium-based PC by making a PowerPC-based computer pretend to be a PC. With Virtual PC, the Windows 95 or Windows 3.11 operating system itself is actually installed on the Mac, and third-party programs are actually running in Windows.

Motorola will be bundling Virtual PC with all StarMax Pro systems sold in the U.S. and Canada, although users will have to purchase the Windows operating system separately. Umax will offer the software on most of its systems and will include the predecessor of Windows, called DOS. Power Computing customers opting for Virtual PC will have Windows 95 included in the package.

A company called Newer Technology, which offers processor upgrades for Mac systems, will also sell the software.