Parallels is targeting PC users switching to the Mac platform with a special edition of its Desktop for Mac that adds migration tools and tutorials to help Windows users get up to speed with the Mac OS X user interface.
Available immediately, Parallels Desktop 4.0 Switch to Mac Edition builds on the existing Parallels Desktop 4.0, which already uses virtualisation to let Mac users run Windows applications seamlessly alongside OS X applications on Intel-based Macs.
The new special edition can convert an existing Windows PC into a virtual machine running inside the Parallels Desktop 4.0 environment on the Mac, including all the applications and documents from the old system.
This so-called physical-to-virtual conversion is common in enterprise server environments, but is still a rarity on the desktop.
Also included in the box is a USB-to-USB connector cable and software that enables the buyer to connect their old PC to the new Mac to effect the transfer.
"It's basically hand-holding for the PC user that wants to move to the Mac," said Stefan Prestele, director of global consumer marketing at Parallels.
The market has huge potential, according to Prestele. Half of the people going into Apple's retail stores nowadays are PC users trading up to the Mac, he claimed.
"More and more people are moving to the Mac, but many want to continue to use the Windows applications they are used to," he said.
However, licensing restrictions could pose a problem, as copies of Windows that came pre-loaded on PCs may be tied to that hardware by Microsoft's terms and conditions.
"We encourage users to go back to Microsoft and check, if they are in any doubt," said Prestele.
The third piece of the kit is a library of interactive tutorials to help Windows users get used to the different interface of Mac OS X.
Two and a half hours of Flash-based videos show how tasks are accomplished in Windows, such as creating a new folder and moving files to it, and then demonstrate how to do the same task on the Mac, the firm said.
"You can dip into the videos at any time you like, if you are unsure about anything," said Prestele.
Parallels Desktop 4.0 Switch to Mac Edition will be available in Apple stores as well as other outlets for £74.99.
The new software is compatible with the soon-to-arrive Snow Leopard version of OS X, and also with Windows 7, according to Parallels.
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