Parallels Takes Fight To VMware With Desktop 5


Parallels continues to take on virtualisation giant VMware after it launched Desktop 5 for Mac

Parallels continues to take the fight to VMware after it launched Desktop 5 for Mac, which it claims is 300 times faster than the previous version.

Parallels 5also offers more than 70 new features for consumers and enterprises wanting to run a virtual PC on a Mac.

“Parallels has a long history in the virtualisation space, with hosting and cloud computing, and it moved into the consumer space about three years ago, bringing virtualisation to the everyday person,” Mary Starman, director of marketing at Parallels, told eWEEK. “With Parallels 5, the focus is on ways to let people work the way they want to work.”

The latter includes several options for viewing Windows.

A user can run Windows in a Full Screen mode, so it completely covers over the Mac user interface, with the option of Active Corners that can curl back to expose the Mac desktop beneath it. Alternatively there is a Crystal view mode, which treats Windows like just another Mac application that can be launched from the dock.

Trackpad gestures can be used across both platforms, and the keyboard shortcuts that a user is accustomed to, can be applied to both systems. “We’ve also done a lot of work to make sure copy and paste is seamless between Windows and Mac and that the full formatting of documents stays,” even between Windows and Linux guest operating systems, said Starman.


Parallels 5 is optimised for Apple’s Snow Leopard OS and offers full support for Aero in Windows 7 as well as Windows Vista. It is said to offer seven times better graphics performance for games and 3D applications than the previous version, with Direct X 9Ex with Shader Model 3 and OpenGL 2.1 support. Full hardware resources can be utilised with support for eight virtual CPUs, with 64-bit Windows and a Snow Leopard Server 64 bit.

“We’re definitely seeing market data saying consumers are moving [to Macs]. We’re seeing that with PC and Windows share in general, trending is down about 20 percent, while Apple is still growing,” said Starman.

During Apple’s fiscal fourth-quarter financial report, Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO, said that approximately half of Mac buyers in its stores were first-time Mac owners.

“There’s definitely a move [toward Macs] in the consumer space, and consumer behaviour really drives the enterprise,” Starman continued, offering that she finds Macs are increasingly accepted in the enterprise.

“One contributor to this is the success of the iPod, which exposed a lot of users to what the Mac experience can be like. Then, of course, there’s the iPhone, which is really starting to draw people to Macs for the first time,” said Starman.

“It’s a simple interface and a more secure machine. There are a lot of reasons to believe [Macs] are coming into their own as enterprise devices.”

When it comes to running Windows on Mac, Parallels is facing stiff competition from VMware, which released its Fusion 3 virtualisation software last month. Much like Parallels, VMware is offering support for Apple’s Snow Leopard operating system and support for Windows 7 features.

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