Google and Parallels bring native Windows apps to Chromebooks

The partnership aims to make the budget-friendly Chromebooks more appealing to enterprise customers

Google has partnered with Parallels to bring native Windows applications to Chromebook Enterprise.

Chrome OS already supports Windows desktop apps, but only when streamed through a Parallels Remote Application Server. With the new partnership, apps will now be natively run on Chromebook devices.

A variation of Parallels Desktop will be integrated into Chrome OS, which should improve performance and also enable offline access to applications such as Microsoft Office. The feature will be available later in the year for Chrome Enterprise customers.

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The move will likely entice more businesses to consider Chromebooks as alternatives to Windows laptops, particularly as it will now mean they won't need to invest in services to stream business apps to the devices. 

"Remote work is a new reality, making efficiency, connectivity, speed, reliability, security and undisrupted access essential elements of a successful organisation," Parallels wrote.

"At this key moment, our two organisations have formed a landmark partnership to equip enterprises with solutions that optimise their businesses and teams to meet the evolving challenges of modern work environments."

For Google, the post-coronavirus economy will put greater strain on business expenditure, which could become challenging when workforces will need to be equipped for remote working.

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The tech giant said it had seen 109% growth in commercial Chromebooks in Q1 2020 compared to the previous year, fueled in part by the cost benefits of deploying these low-cost laptops.  

"The Chrome OS team is working on new ways to make sure every company can benefit from the velocity created by supporting a cloud workforce," John Solomon, VP of Chrome OS, wrote in a blog post.

"For example, our new partnership with Parallels brings legacy application support - which includes Microsoft Office desktop apps - to Chromebooks, with more to come on this over the coming months."

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