updated 05:40 pm EST, Fri February 23, 2007
Virtual Vista costs more
Microsoft has ensured that Mac owners will pay a premium for using its Vista operating system in a virtualized environment -- such as Parallels Desktop -- due to a portion of the Redmond-based company's license agreement forbidding such action. Microsoft cites security worries for its inclusion of the ban on running Vista inside virtual machines on all platforms, saying that malicious software can run undetected alongside an operating system. The move could further confuse consumers beyond the already blurry series of various Vista versions in circulation, according to the Associated Press, because Microsoft is allowing some of its higher-priced Vista versions to run in virtual environments. Even then, however, the software giant restricts the system's functionality by preventing users from accessing Vista's BitLocker data-encryption service and playing music or video carrying Microsoft's anti-piracy technology.
Microsoft reportedly considered banning virtualizing all versions of Vista, but eventually settled on allowing the higher-priced versions to run virtually inside another OS. The software maker said most technically savvy users or people in companies with technical support could likely handle Vista in virtualization programs, and elected to drive 'home users' away from such dangers while allowing the more advanced versions of Vista to run in virtual environments.
Apple's Boot Camp software is legal to use with Vista, however, because it uses an Intel-based Mac to actually boot windows on the hardware itself, rather than creating a walled-off 'virtual' machine that runs the software inside another operating system.