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VMware Offers Fusion For The Mac At Half Price

There have been more than 200,000 downloads of the beta version of Fusion, according to VMware.
VMware is taking preorders of Fusion, which enables Mac users to run Windows applications, for half the retail price.

The maker of virtualization software for desktops and servers is taking orders for Fusion for $40 until the product is generally available at the end of August. Once generally available, Fusion will retail the software for $80, the company said Tuesday.

Fusion is currently available in beta 4.

The new product enables Mac users to run Windows and other PC-based applications within a virtual machine. There have been more than 200,000 downloads of the beta version of Fusion, according to VMware.

Key features include the ability to run Windows XP applications with full integration with Mac keyboard shortcuts, and the ability to access Windows applications through the Mac OS X dock. Fusion also has support for Microsoft's DirectX 8.1 technology for showing 3-D graphics and playing games within XP virtual machines.

The virtualization software also enables Mac users to tap out the maximum memory available to run more virtual machines simultaneously. Fusion also has a "snapshot" feature to capture and save the current state of a running virtual machine, VMware said, which enables users to roll back to a stable state, if the VM becomes unresponsive.

The new product also enables the migration of existing Windows environments into a virtual machine ready for use on the Mac. Users also can run virtual machines created with VMware Server, Infrastructure 3, and Workstation products with Fusion on the Mac.

Finally, Fusion enables Windows to share the Mac's network connections and switch between wired and Wi-Fi connections. Users also can monitor the battery life of their MacBooks from within non-Mac virtual machines.

VMware competitors include Parallels, which sells virtualization software for the Mac for $80. Apple also ships its own software for running Windows on the Mac called Boot Camp, which has been integrated with the next version of Mac OS X. Called Leopard, the upgrade ships in October.

Apple chief executive Steve Jobs on Monday demonstrated 10 features of the new operating system at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. Among the features Jobs showed off were three ways Mac owners could run Windows on Leopard: Boot Camp, Parallels, and Fusion.

This story was modified on June 13 to clarify that Boot Camp is not virtualization software.