It’s fair to say that you can almost become dizzy trying to track the various and sundry changes with Parallels Desktop, the premier Windows emulation environment on the Mac these days. It all began last April, almost before the ink had dried on printed stories about the first public beta of Apple’s Boot Camp.
The initial prerelease offering from Parallels was rough and not-quite-ready. It crashed a lot, but there was, at the core, an incredible amount of potential. Unlike previous efforts at emulation, Parallels Desktop was incredibly fast, and came close enough to native performance in some respects that the difference wasn’t significant, except for the lack of support for 3D graphics and some peripheral products. It was also only available for Intel-based Macs, so those with a PowerPC need not apply.
Within a couple of months, the first official release of the program was at hand, followed by Microsoft’s decision not to bother making a Universal version of Virtual PC. To them, the process would be too daunting, like starting all over again with a version 1.0 product. They somehow wanted us to forget that Parallels, a company that had only been in business for a year or thereabouts, managed the task in almost an embarrassingly easy fashion.
Now a lot of companies might have rested on their laurels, and waited a year or so for any major upgrades, making sure to exact a sufficient upgrade fee for their efforts, but not Parallels.