Google and Parallels bring Windows apps to Chromebooks, in parallel with VMware and Citrix

And then derides them as legacy apps you’ll put up with while you ascend to cloud

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Google has teamed with Parallels to bring Windows apps to Chromebooks under the Chrome Enterprise program.

The two companies haven’t said which product will power the offering or how the partnership will work once it kicks off in the northern autumn. The Register suspects Parallels’ Remote Application Server (RAS) will do the heavy lifting as it is purpose-built to pour Windows apps into HTML 5 browsers. Which is just what Chromebooks run.

RAS is well-regarded but has never rivaled the market share of application-publishing rivals Citrix and VMware, both of which are completely capable of bringing Windows apps to Chromebooks with plug-ins.

Google’s take on the deal advocates the cloud as the best way to do almost anything, so asking users to run on-prem Parallels seems unlikely. A Google-hosted version of Remote Application Server, woven into the Chrome Enterprise service's bundle of proper support for business, sounds feasible and on-theme.

That cloud emphasis means the ads and search giant said the alliance “brings legacy application support—which includes Microsoft Office desktop apps—to Chromebooks” and positions the need to do so as a necessary step on the way to the cloud.

Google’s post even ties it all into the pandemic-pushed work-from-home rush, which veep for Chrome OS John Solomon positions as an “inflection point” that accelerated adoption of cloud-based work by five years.

Solomon points to “155% year over year growth in commercial Chromebooks in Q1 2020” as evidence of not only greater interest in working from home, but also the Chrome ecosystem’s many fine qualities. Doing so ignores the fact that one feature of the work-from-home rush was a somewhat desperate grab for anything with a screen, keyboard, WiFi and familiar GUI. ®

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