MicrosoftIt appears that Microsoft had initially planned earlier in the week to announce that it was broadening the virtualization rights for Windows Vista, but it reversed its course at the last minute.

According to CNET Networks’, the software maker had briefed both reporters, as well as analysts, on plans to allow the Home versions of Vista to run in virtual machines. At the moment, only Vista Business and Vista Ultimate could legitimately be run as guest operating systems, according to licensing rules announced for Vista last year.

The following is an excerpt of the interview with Benjamin Rudolph, Parallels’ director of corporate communications, which sums up the general sentiment of this entire issue:

Rudolph said that his users had struggled to understand Microsoft’s rationale for limiting which versions of Vista could run alongside the Mac OS [in the Parallels for Mac virtual machine]. “They want to use Vista, but they were a little confused as to why they have to pay $400.

Microsoft provided little explanation for the about-face, simply saying that: “Microsoft has reassessed the Windows virtualization policy and decided that we will maintain the original policy announced last fall.”

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As virtualization gains mainstream acceptance and usage, changes in licensing terms is inevitable. This is even more important now that powerful multi-core processors with more than four cores are expected to come online over the next few years, as well as increasing hardware support for virtual machines.

What do you think could be Microsoft’s real concern here? Join the discussion.


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