just happened to be on the page:
Virtual PC 2004 is now free! Found it while looking for viable alternatives to VMWare.
Since when has Microsoft gotten THIS friendly?
...since VMWare released their virtualization server for free.
Note it's the Windows version only of VirtualPC that's free.
*methinks me needs to read /. more often...*
And it sounds like Microsoft have decided to not Develop VPC for Intel Mac.
A number of pieces have fallen together in such a way that at least on the entry level you just can't make people pay for PC virtualization anymore. Several free/open source projects such as QEMU and Xen have gained the ability to do "native" virtualization on x86, which left VMware little choice but offer some incentive to offer a "free" solution to the community to maintain "mindshare". (Which is risky, but VMware's hoping that people will still cough up money for its enterprise security and "bare metal" server solutions.) And with VMware free, well, Microsoft didn't have a whole lot of choice either.
The other contributing bit is that Intel has "officially" blessed virtualization technology on x86 by adding some new instructions to their current CPUs which make it easier to do without "tricks". (Which VMware and kin have to resort to on older CPUs.)
Which, again, make it harder to charge money for it. Parallels Desktop for Mac is certainly worth the $80 it costs since there is no free solution for the MacOS *yet*, but their window of opportunity is limited. Luckily for them it's a huge pain in the neck to write kernel space drivers for OS X now that Apple's closed the Darwin source code for x86, so their monopoly should last for a little while yet.
The Intel kernel was released yesterday, actually. The website with it is http://kernel.macosforge.org/. With VMWare also coming to OS X, I think there will be some competition.