Parallels virtualization app upgrade sparks Mac user outcry

Desktop for Mac 4.0 under fire on support forums, company says 'small number' affected

The CEO of Parallels Tuesday defended the recent upgrade of his company's Mac virtualization software as a "quality product" and said that negative comments from users had been overblown because the firm doesn't edit its support forums.

"We do not moderate our support forums," Serguei Beloussov, Parallels' chief executive, said on Tuesday, referring to the practice of monitoring, and sometimes purging, user comments. "We became a victim of our own open policy."

Beloussov maintained that it was a very small group -- "a couple of dozen," he said during the interview -- who are posting negative comments about the upgrade on the company's support forums. "It's actually quite a small number who are getting upset," he argued. "I have engineers coming to me who are asking 'Why do we get this reaction? There are only a few people making noise, and there are no real problems, only problems of perception.'

"Happy customers don't go to forums," Beloussov maintained. "And lots of [problems reported in the forum] have been resolved in Desktop 4."

Parallels Desktop for Mac 4.0, which the company released November 11, has been blasted by some users on the company's forums for troubles ranging from locked up virtual machine migrations and jumpy cursors to flaky Internet connections and slow performance once the upgrade's completed. Messages began to accumulate on the support forums soon after the upgrade hit the street.

"Currently, PD4 is absolutely useless," said a user labeled "solus" on Nov. 14, just a few days after the upgrade was released. "PD3 was lightning fast compared to this new version, and it's very disappointing."

Another user timed the boot process of his new Parallels Desktop for Mac 4.0 and compared to it to times for the upgrade's predecessor, then claimed that in his case, the newer version was nearly three times slower. "What happened to make Parallels so slow?" asked "phesopeon" in a message on Tuesday.

"I have an XP Professional disk image which PD4 cannot seem to convert from PD3 format," said a user identified as "nickhillard" on Nov. 21. "This is causing me serious problems. PD4 does not work for me. At all."

Parallels issued a hotfix update to Desktop for Mac 4.0 on November 20 that fixed 20 bugs, nearly half of them addressing upgrade issues. That, however, didn't stop the complaints.

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