Best known for word processing, painting, and video editing tools, Corel today added a major new collection of apps to its portfolio by acquiring Parallels — the top developer of emulation software to run Microsoft’s Windows on Apple’s Mac computers. That’s good news for Parallels users, as Corel is promising “significant investment into the Parallels business” after the deal.
Currently on version 14, Parallels is the best-selling way to bring Windows PC apps to Apple’s computers. Unlike Apple’s free Boot Camp, which forces a reboot and lets Windows fully take over the computer, Parallels allows Windows and its apps to run simultaneously with macOS. Frequently updated to support the latest versions of macOS and Windows, the app sells for $80, typically with the option of an annual $50 upgrade to bring it up to full speed with the latest macOS major release.
The acquisition involves both Parallels employees and apps, which range from the well-known Parallels Desktop for Mac to helper apps such as Parallels Toolbox for Windows and Mac, Parallels Access, Parallels Mac Management for Microsoft SCCM, and Parallels Remote Application Server (RAS). Collectively, these apps enable consumers and business users to access their Windows and Mac desktops on other devices, including smartphones and tablets.
“We’re excited to welcome our new Parallels employees to Corel’s global organization,” said Corel CEO Patrick Nichols. “From our highly complementary product portfolios to our shared business models and strategies, Corel and Parallels are a great fit. Thanks to the combined power of our technologies and teams, we see tremendous opportunities to drive continued growth and success for our businesses and, most importantly, our customers.”
Both companies will face one major challenge going forward: developing a pricing model that makes it possible to grow or maintain Parallels’ customer base. In years past, Parallels has tied its major releases — and paid upgrades — to Apple’s macOS updates, which used to be significant for customers. But in recent years, macOS updates have tended to be smaller in scope, reducing the perceived value of upgrading apps like Parallels. The headline “new” feature of the most recent Parallels upgrade was “significantly less” usage of a Mac’s resources during emulation, a clear illustration of the challenges facing emulator makers and macOS software developers, in general.