Companies partner to enable Microsoft software to natively run on Chrome OS devices
The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing tech vendors to adapt quickly, with the most recent example being a partnership between Google and Parallels aimed at bringing native Microsoft Office applications and other Windows software to enterprise devices running Chrome OS.
The Lowdown: The partnership, announced this week, comes at a time when work-from-home has become a mantra for most employees and businesses are accelerating their use of cloud services, a situation that promises to continue even after the pandemic passes.
The Details: Parallels made its name developing virtualization software that lets users run Windows applications on Apple Mac systems. Now the company and Google plan to enable similar capabilities on Chrome OS starting in the fall.
Those capabilities will enable enterprises to:
>Add full-featured Windows apps, including Office, to Chromebook Enterprise devices.
>Expand the technology options for companies and employees needing to collaborate anytime, anywhere.
>Eliminate additional hardware costs and reduce total cost of ownership.
The Impact: Google already was working to get Chrome OS into more enterprise environments, but the global coronavirus outbreak and the resulting need for businesses to find new ways to work with a largely distributed workforce have sped up the process, according to John Solomon, vice president of Chrome OS at Google. In a blog post, Solomon wrote that “what we thought would be five years out is now happening far more quickly.”
Google saw 109% year-over-year growth in Chromebook unit sales in the United States in the first quarter and about a 155% increase in commercial Chromebooks, he wrote.
For partners, having Microsoft applications run natively on Chrome OS devices will give them another option to offer clients, which have been turning to the channel for help in adapting to the rapidly changing business model. This will have a long-range effect given the plans by many companies to continue to have employees work remotely beyond the lifetime of the pandemic.
The Buzz: “Behavior changes are non-linear; they happen slowly, until they don’t,” Solomon wrote. “COVID-19 has proven to be a tipping point, and what was looking to be a steady evolution is now a revolution. Companies of all sizes have implemented work-from-home and are running nearly all functions, including mission-critical ones, remotely. Enterprises are accelerating the move of applications and workloads to the cloud, adding resiliency to the existing benefits of flexibility, agility, collaboration and cost. … Of course, the economic environment will mean organizations will be taking a closer look at their capital expenditures, but keeping employees productive remains a top priority for businesses; they will just need to do it more affordably. The features and benefits of Chrome OS that we used to think were additive suddenly became mandatory and business-critical.”