VMware Fusion's availability imminent

VMware Fusion for the Apple Mac will be generally available from VMware and from online retailers almost a month early.

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VMware Fusion, the virtualization company's platform for the Apple Macintosh, will be generally available on Monday, Aug. 5; that's almost a month early.

For more on Fusion:
VMware offers Fusion beta testers deal on final release

Just as VMware Inc. promised in June, Fusion will retail for $79.99 -- the same price as that for Parallels Desktop 3.0 for Mac, the product VMware hopes to displace with Fusion. The technology will be available for purchase on the VMware site as well as at the Apple Store, Amazon.com, Buy.com, Fry's, Micro Center and CompUSA. In the fall, brick-and-mortar retail stores, including Apple's, will begin carrying Fusion.

Technology-wise, little about Fusion has changed since VMware announced that the technology had reached release candidate status earlier this summer. But it still had to "fix any last-minute issues" and ensure that Fusion met "high-quality standards," said Pat Lee, VMware senior product manager for Fusion.

Among the features unique to the technology, Lee cited the ability to use Exposé, Mac OS's windowing system; Fusion's support for native 32- and 64-bit virtual machines (VMs); Virtual SMP, which assigns varying levels of CPU resources to a VM; and Fusion's use of Mac's own Cocoa application environment. "It's about being able to run Windows apps just like Mac apps," Lee said.

But as long as Apple refuses to let Mac OS be virtualized, the reverse scenario -- that is, running Mac apps just like Windows apps -- still isn't in the cards. "That's all up to Apple at this point," Lee said. "If at some point Apple decides to support this, we're happy to work with them."

Let us know what you think about the story; email Alex Barrett, News Director.

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