Microsoft's Virtual PC software has been lauded by critics as a convenient way for Mac users to run Windows applications on their Macs, but what if you need to do the opposite?

Hawaii-based MXS announced this week the release of Cherry OS, an emulator that does the exact opposite – its developer says Cherry OS lets PCs run Mac OS X instead.

The virtual machine emulated by Cherry OS sports full network capabilities and has complete access to the host computer's hardware resources: hard drive, CPU, RAM, FireWire, USB, PCI, PCMCIA bus, Ethernet networking and modem.

It purportedly runs at about 80 percent of the performance of the host CPU, according to the developer.

"Now about 600m PC users can have the Mac advantage," says the software's developer, Arben Kryeziu. "One computer to use all software and if PC users would use Mac software to get email, perhaps they would avoid viruses, Trojans and spyware."

Cherry OS is being distributed as an online download, and costs $49.95 (£28).

Mac operating system software and application software is not included.