VMware and Parallels in Mac turf war

VMware is set to take on Parallels in the Mac virtualisation world with the launch of VMware Fusion for the Mac OS X, but for now its main focus is the consumer market.

VMware is set to take on Parallels in the Mac virtualisation world with the launch of VMware Fusion for the Mac OS X, but for now its main focus is the consumer market.

The news that the best-selling virtualisation software is now available for Apple's OS X will be welcomed by users running Macs alongside PCs.

But any corporate appeal may be lessened by the news that VMware is limiting the scope of Fusion and that it will only support two virtual machines per user.

Technically, the standard VMware product can support tens or even hundreds of virtual machines in one system. "We have only delivered what people have asked for," said Reza Malekzadeh, VMware's director of product marketing.

In demonstrations, VMware was able to show almost seamless movement across multiple windows running from virtual PCs and Macs on the same screen. "We have put a lot of work into getting that right," the spokesperson said.

As for corporate customers, the spokesperson said: "Small companies may well use it and we will wait and see if there is demand from corporate users."

VMware Fusion is entering a busy market, with the market leader, Parallels Desktop for the Mac, dominating the market for virtualisation on a Mac. Microsoft has its own virtualisation product. However, as expected, Parallels has downplayed any threat from VMware.

"With more than 600,000 active users around the world, Parallels is, without question, the leader in the desktop virtualisation market," said Benjamin Rudolph, director of Parallels.

"We're confident that we will maintain our leadership role by continuing to respond to the needs of our customers by introducing new ground-breaking technologies that make working with multiple operating systems easier, faster, and more productive than ever before."

Colin Barker reported for ZDNet UK from London

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