Look around large companies, and you're likely to spot something you wouldn't have seen in the enterprise five years ago -- a growing number of Macs. More firms are letting their employees pick between Macs and Windows machines, and those employees are opting for the former. That helped Apple increase its sales to the enterprise market by 66 percent during its fiscal second quarter.
Parallels, which makes virtualization software allowing Macs to run Windows, has certainly taken note of the Mac's expanded role in the business world. On Monday, the software maker unveiled Parallels Desktop 6 for Mac Enterprise Edition, a version of its virtualization offering aimed at IT managers.
The Enterprise Edition of Parallels Desktop lets enterprise users run Windows-based applications on their Macs. But it also gives IT managers the ability to impose policy-compliant deployments of the software. That means IT departments can control how software updates are applied. The Enterprise Edition also promises simplified licensing compliance and business-class support with priority phone and email access.
Parallels has already sold its Desktop application to a large number of enterprises over the years. So why come out with this Enterprise Edition? "Some of the largest companies were asking for these features and functionality for some time," David Abramowski, a marketing consultant for Parallels, told Macworld. Parallels was also prodded by the Mac's increased presence in the enterprise. A Parallels-sponsored survey of 210 knowledge workers found that six out of 10 respondents worked in a business where their employers let them choose between a Mac an a PC. Parallels also points to an Information Technology Intelligence Consulting study that predicts the number of large enterprises with more than 250 Macs or Apple-built devices will grow by 267 percent between 2010 and 2015.
Parallels Desktop for Mac Enterprise Edition is available as an annual subscription service, with a list price of $100 per seat for one year. That subscription price includes any updates or upgrades that come out during the year.