VMware will include support for Mac OS X Leopard Server in VMware Fusion's next beta.
VMware Fusion already lets users run Windows, Linux and other PC operating systems as virtual machines on their Intel-based Apple Macintoshes.
The news came out of the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, held in San Francisco this week.
"This is Apple getting more recognition for its broader impact on the client side, and the other way to look at it is in terms of the Apple installed base," IDC analyst Stephen Elliott told InternetNews.com.
Whether VMware will succeed will depend on whether it can manage the Apple platform.
"It's one thing to support the Apple OS or any other platform, but it's another thing to manage it, and that's the key," Elliott said. "If VMware's plans are to virtualize Apple clients, then the management piece has to be inherent."
Elliott believes VMware's support for the Mac is a bid to get into Apple's consumer products market because Apple "is a pretty innovative company with iTunes and different consumer pieces."
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VMware is late to the Mac virtualization market European virtualization vendor Parallels announced the first beta release of Parallels Server that lets users run Leopard Server as a guest operating system back in January.
Parallels Desktop for Mac 3.0 is out and available for sale off the company's Website, and Parallels Server for Mac is in beta, also available off the Website.
A week after Parallels announced its beta release of Parallels Server running Leopard Server, VMware gave a preview of Mac OS X Server running in a virtual machine at Macworld 2008, held earlier this year.
How It All Began
Until recently, Apple's licensing policy prevented anyone from running virtual machines (VMs) on its computers.
But in October 2007, it changed the policy, when it released Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard Server.
The Leopard Server software license agreement lets users "install and use one copy of the Mac OS X Server software on a single Apple-labeled computer" and also "install and use other copies of Mac OS X Server Software on the same Apple-labeled computer" provided they acquire an individual and valid license from Apple for each of those other copies of OS X Server software.
Whether or not Apple allows virtualization of its other software remains to be seen.
Licensing "continues to be a thorn in the side" of the industry, Elliott said, but ultimately things could change as more money is offered to software license holders. "Money talks," Elliott added.
This article was originally published on InternetNews.com.