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

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 …

  1. Christopher Reeve's Horse

    'On the way to the cloud'

    Presumably a cloudy future where literally everything everyone does is owned, controlled, processed and analysed by Google, by any chance? Gee thanks. Or you could interoperate this as a way to make Chromebooks marginally more useful and saleable, particularly to businesses that don't want to (or can't) drop dependence on MS Office and 'other legacy apps'.

    There could potentially be some longer term performance benefits however... MS and Google has been pushing more and more use of browser based office applications, but as far as I'm aware they still process data (slowly and inefficiently) on the local client. You just can't open a stonkingly massive and complex Excel model in the online application. But if the file is already in the cloud (via Drive, One-Drive or SharePoint etc.) and the software interface is already in the browser, why not use much more massive cloud processing power behind the scenes, to deliver something more capable than the local hardware or native application? That seems to be the missing link, unless I'm misunderstanding something?

    1. Lazlo Woodbine

      Re: 'On the way to the cloud'

      I find Google Docs to be better than browser based word.

      I've not used either of their spreadsheet apps for anything other than basic tables with calculations, no complex formulas or lookups, although I'm sure they've improved over the last few years

      1. Killing Time

        Re: 'On the way to the cloud'

        Sheets is a decent alternative to Excel for most purposes. I have in the past created a scoreboard with Form driven data entry from a mobile phone to it.

        For the vast majority of users it will do the job.

        Works offline also.

  2. Charlie Clark Silver badge


    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.

    I thought that RAS offloads even more rendering to the server so that a plugin, which will essentially need to implement RDP in the browser, isn't strictly necessary. Licensing fees for any large install will be key to market acceptance,

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "evidence of [..] greater interest in working from home"

    As usual, mouthpieces blabbering on current trends while completely ignoring how conditions have changed.

    I've always been interested in working from home, that's not new. Since the beginning of office work, in IT or otherwise, the norm has always been you go to the office and work at a desk, with your colleagues. Over time, the Internet was born, then VPNs, and sometimes you could work for a boss who didn't break out in hives when you suggested that you could do part of your job from home.

    Today however, companies have been brutally pushed into a world where everybody is working from home, and whether or not they broke out in hives, bosses have found that, yes, their company can actually function like that (for those companies that could do so, obviously).

    That is a sea change in that now, bosses can no longer break out in hives when you say that you can do that from home. You did it before and it worked out fine. So now we can envision a world where you'll be at the office for meetings, for greeting certain customers or consultants, and work from home the rest of the time.

    We'll all see how this works out, but nobody is going to have "works from home" in their contract. It will likely remain a possibility, apparently big companies are seriously planning it, but we will all have days at the office again.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: "evidence of [..] greater interest in working from home"

      I'm expecting that a non trivial % of desk jobs currently WFH will just continue this way and future 'in the office' time happens only when there's a reason to travel.

      There's a LOT of expensive office space sitting mostly empty at the moment. In the last three months we've identified what works and more importantly what doesn't work in WFH setting, sensible senior management by now should be generating a nice set of figures showing how much overhead they could save if the office space shrank to match.

      How this pans out over time for social interactions is guesswork, but I'd hazard that as millions do not miss spending hours on crowded transport at both ends of a working day they may now venture out more often mid-week.

      1. Chris the bean counter

        Re: "evidence of [..] greater interest in working from home"

        Plus a knock on impact to construction, transport and leisure/catering workers if people commuting less and fewer conferences.

        Offices outsourcing non core activities overseas will also no doubt get a boost along with loss of jobs in call centres & admin as the move to online got a 5 year acceleration in 5 weeks

        Interesting times.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: "evidence of [..] greater interest in working from home"

      WFH is the first step to being outsourced.

      I've heard from a few friends about how quality and productivity have nose-dived as a result of people working from home and meetings just get more tedious.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Charlie Clark - Re: "evidence of [..] greater interest in working from home"

        Working day-to-day on premises is not a protection against outsourcing. Most of the outsourcing done before this pandemic impacted dwellers of good old cubicles.

        Those who complain the most about decrease in productivity are insecure managers who are scared to death they can no longer keep an eye on their team. Besides, what good is to be a member of upper management if you can't gather a flock of employees to listen and applaud your speech ?

        I would also add to this unionized employees who can no longer benefit from their hard earned privileges when WFH.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I looked at RAS as a possible alternative after the death of vWorkspace, but didn't find it that compelling. From memory, the cost of the annual licensing subscription made it a non starter. For smaller solutions, RDS with RD gateway is acceptable. For larger solutions Citrix CVAD is still the way to go.

  5. Stuart Castle Silver badge

    My sole experience of Chromebooks was when an Administrator where I work bought ten of them for some staff. Our department (thankfully not me) was tasked with trying to deploy these damn machines using our existing, Windows based infrastructure. The Administrator had assumed they were just cheap PCs, so Windows 10 would run fine on them.

    Not sure what happened to those machines, but I do know that as a result of that, the previous guidance our department had issued about asking IT to purchase computing equipment, rather than going through other departments became a rule, even to the point of of writing to our suppliers telling them who is authorised to purchase from them.

  6. Michael Habel
    Paris Hilton

    How is this better then a Stinkpad with a native OS, and local App installs again?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It probably isn't better, just different. Chromebooks tend to be cheaper than a decent business laptop, but Google knows that not being able to run Microsoft Office is a deal breaker for many businesses, and this is one way of providing that capability.

  7. Blackjack Silver badge

    At this point...

    You might as well pay a few bucks more and just get a cheap Windows 10 laptop instead.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Blackjack - Re: At this point...

      If it's for business, my employer will chose whatever he fancies and I will get paid to use it. If it's for my personal use, I don't give a dead rat a$$ about any of them.

      1. Blackjack Silver badge

        Re: @Blackjack - At this point...

        As far as I know Chromebooks mostly get use in schools and for "cheap laptops" for kids to use. Even if they do everything online in your Office they still want you to use Windows as a general rule.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Chromebooks are a breeze . . .

    Easy to deploy, easy to administer, cheap & no BSOD headaches like you get with a Windows laptop - can't understand why more don't use them.

    Anytime a relative asks what type of laptop should they buy I say a Chromebook, why because then I don't have to answer any more calls.

    In particular about ... I think I've got a virus, how do I install A/V or a personal F/W or any of that BS - lost too many countless hours on clueless people with cheap windows laptops or people who buy a really expensive one 'cos 'they need it' . . . fer what looking at cat/dog pics, browsing the web . . . nah.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Chromebooks are a breeze . . .

      They are OK IF and that's a big IF you don't mind being locked into a walled garden.

      As for viruses, I really can't remember the last time I got one....Windows XP SP1 maybe?

      And you are worried about viruses, why not just go Linux?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @IGotOut - Re: Chromebooks are a breeze . . .

        All what is left as choice for users now is to pick up the walled garden flavor. Except for, as you mention it, Linux.

      2. Stuart Castle Silver badge

        Re: Chromebooks are a breeze . . .

        Linux has viruses too. OK, they are a lot rarer, but they exist.

        However, I digress. I use Mac OS and Windows 10 on my Laptop. Mac OS more than Windows 10 (don't really need Windows 10 on the laptop as a have a fairly powerful Windows 10 desktop). The last time I caught a virus was years ago when, despite not trusting a particular user on a forum I administrate, I downloaded an executable he uploaded, with a view to looking for viruses, I accidentally installed it on my desktop rather than spinning up a VM I had set up specifically for testing things like that (isolated from the host OS as much as possible). Thankfully, my virus scanner caught it, shortly before dying, and a quick Windows re-install destroyed it.

        Now, the advantage I have with my laptop is that while both OSes connect to the internet, both are entirely self contained. I can work on the laptop without ever connecting to the Internet, should I need or choose to. I can also go offline immediately (which is handy, as on my commute to work, I get vary patchy data coverage). While Chromebooks can operate offline, they do apparently need to go through a download process before they do, which will take time. Perhaps not much.

    2. RyokuMas

      Re: Chromebooks are a breeze . . .

      Easy to deploy, easy to administer, cheap & no BSOD headaches like you get with a Windows laptop - can't understand why more don't use them.

      Wow, almost a direct quote from the (usually unskippable) Chromebook ads that periodically seem to latch themselves onto the start of Youtube vids... hey, maybe if the Aussies can set a long overdue prescedent, some of Google's other leverages might get questioned too...

      ... but I digress.

      Chromebooks may "not BSOD" and "not have viruses", but I'm willing to bet that they'll have their fair share of niggles, especially if they start picking up a significant market share.

      Similarly, this idea of "no viruses" is a fantasy - unless qualified with " - yet" on the end. Again, if/when Chromebooks get to a significant share of the market, they will inveitably become worthwhile targets for black-hatters to try and break into - after all, the #1 infection vector these days is convicing the end user to click a link or perform some other action, so it is inevitable that someone will find a way to exploit Chromebooks.

      Personally, I always advise people to stay away from Chromebooks... call me old fashioned, but I come from an era when there was this thing called "privacy". And I sure as hell am not going to recommend a machine - or any other hardware or software - made by a company whose business model is built around gathering people's data.

      1. Killing Time

        Re: Chromebooks are a breeze . . .

        Can't really understand why you would actively advise people to stay away from Chromebooks when you clearly have little first hand knowledge of them.

        No product is perfect but if it's a privacy thing then I would have thought you would have realised by now, they all slurp data to a greater or lesser degree, Including Linux distributors. You set up an account, they start the profiling.

        For the vast majority of users, Linux isn't an option because they don't possess the skills. Their only viable options lie with the main players. You don't need to be old fashioned to understand privacy encompasses a whole host of issues. Including reduction in unsolicited mail and data security to name a few. If advised rationally, some may place these aspects of privacy above other aspects and perceptions.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Chromebooks are a breeze . . .

        I agree with a lot of what you say but they already have 25 million students using Chromebooks at school in the US, that's a fairly significant market share within the educational sector and surely within that grouping that has to be a significant number of black & white hat ops.

        In my house it's Microbits, Raspberries & Linux for fiddling and doing interesting stuff, windows for games and chrome o/s (bits, book & boxes) for everything else.

        Look, I'm fairly old fashioned (& old) myself but would have a lot less grey hair if I didn't have to help out so many friends and relatives with their banged up windoze boxes n tops 'cos I 'work in computers' but sure if you love spending time fixing other peoples kit then I say hats off and fair play to ya - as for privacy, I fear that ship has already sailed.

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