Why it matters: Parallels is partnering with Google to bring full Windows applications to Chrome OS via its virtualization technology. This would allow businesses to deploy cheaper Chromebooks while still being able to leverage legacy Windows applications when needed. There’s no word as to general availability but this should help bolster Chrome OS in the software department.
Parallels is known for allowing Mac owners to run Windows virtual machines within macOS itself. Now, Google wants to get in on the action with its own announcement of a partnership with Parallels that brings full Windows applications to Chrome OS. Unfortunately, this announcement only mentions enterprise Chromebooks, not consumer devices.
Parallels will bring “full-featured” Windows applications to Chrome OS Enterprise including Microsoft Office. From a business standpoint, this could go a long way to provide much needed support for legacy Windows apps while keeping overall costs down. Businesses wouldn’t have to buy expensive Windows machines and simply rely on cheaper Chromebooks.
The theme surrounding the partnership seems to center around remote work, where workers may not be able to access critical Windows programs from home.
“Remote work is a new reality, making efficiency, connectivity, speed, reliability, security and undisrupted access essential elements of a successful organization. At this key moment, our two organizations have formed a landmark partnership to equip enterprises with solutions that optimize their businesses and teams to meet the evolving challenges of modern work environments.”
While the feature appears to be aimed strictly at business customers, it’s unclear whether it’ll see general availability eventually. Being able to advertise Windows applications on Chrome OS could make it a big selling point. You could use Chrome OS for most things and then fire up a Parallels virtual machine for a specific Windows app when needed.
Google has also confirmed that Parallels will be running locally on the Chromebook, not in the cloud.