Ah! It finally occurs to me today, as I listen to the salesperson [for our VB3 [sic!] product] across the cube wall, why Microsoft has purchased VirtualPC and "started stopped" making Mac software (specifically Outlook Express, whose death seems to have gone unnoticed, and IE, the news of which is, as I said, EVERYWHERE). It's exactly what a a buddy of mine has been harping on for months (though in his case, it's Linux and Wine, a Windows "emulator" of sorts for Linux).

Matt says:
Let's be honest: Isn't WineX just a bandage for all those Linux users (former Windows users) that can't give up Windows games?

He's coming at this from a different, and, in the case of VirtualPC on Mac, the wrong direction, but the concept is right on the money for Linux and Mac users. Perhaps Wine and WineX on Linux is used mostly by ex-Windows users, but I'm betting on OS X VirtualPC is being used to provide a quick and inferior hit of Windows to Mac users. We've got VB3 software for educational insitutions. Wanna use it with your Macs? "You can, if you buy VirtualPC," is apparently the company line.

Then perhaps the Mac users notice this software works much better and much more quickly on the much less expensive WinPC down the hall. And guess what? All the software you *need* is already there. Email. Web browsing. mp3s. Do you really want to pay $150 for VPC per box to run the last essential piece of software on your Mac? Instead, wouldn't it be better at the next hardware refresh to grab WinPCs?

If VirtualPC becomes good enough that WinOffice on VPC is better than any of MS's Office competitors on OSX, guess what? Office X goes away, and the "bait-to-switch" is on.