VMWare will be launching a product on the opening day of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference. The specific product is a secret, but the folks at VMWare were mightily torqued by my Parallels Desktop review's unchallenged reference to Parallels' claim of a hypervisor approach. That's a debate for another day; probably tomorrow in a phone call with VMWare. But VMWare's efforts to make sure I come to WWDC with a firm understanding of what a hypervisor is and is not takes some of the mystery out of the Monday announcement.
Parallels probably got wind of this before I did. They hurried to update me on enhancements planned for its Mac products "before the end of the year," including support for USB 2.0 and the ACPI BIOS that Vista requires. VMWare is undoubtedly going to show Vista running as a guest under Tiger. That could be really interesting if VMWare's engineers worked out the graphics driver bottleneck that slows down guests' GUIs. Parallels might just be making sure they have something fresh out there to avoid getting buried by a VMWare PR onslaught. Or it might know some specifics of VMWare's coming product, in which case we've been tipped on two more features VMWare may include in its first trip to the Mac.
I predicted a WWDC desktop virtualization shootout among VMWare, Microsoft and Parallels, but that doesn't strike me as revenue-rich battleground, It may be a wise place to start, but VMWare is focusing more heavily now on services than on shrink-wrapped software. I see enormous potential in a VMWare server product for the upcoming Xserve. The combination of Xserve, OS X Server, VMWare, Xserve RAID and a little physical-to-virtual magic would put some silvery Apple logos in racks dominated by HP, Dell and IBM badges.
VMWare has already completed work on a virtualization solution that leverages Intel's VT extensions, the very stuff that lives in every Intel-based Mac from Mac mini on up. Unless VMWare just phones it in, its Mac product will land having at least what Parallels does. And if VMWare is on the ball, it'll get to 64-bit before Parallels does, as well.
We'll see VMWare showing off hypervisor, Vista, VT, probably 64-bit and maybe a server product at WWDC. I'm hoping for the home run, the whole enchilada.
So, has anyone heard from Microsoft?