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Ben Rudolph Answers Questions About Parallels 3.0 Product

One of the valuable things found on Parallels' official blog is the section where Ben Rudolph, Parallels Director of Corporate Communications, answers questions from the public about the different Parallels' products.  Here is the latest:

1) Why is this $39.99 upgrade discount only available for a limited time?
Current customers will ALWAYS be able to upgrade to 3.0 at a substantial discount versus buying a new copy ($49.99 versus $79.99 for a new copy). Like most companies, we sometimes offer incentives around new products to drive awareness and uptake, so that's what you're seeing here with the special limited-time $39.99 price. We've run similar programs in the past and will definitely do so in the future.

We're also running this promotion to say "thanks" to our user who have supported us for the last year. We figured the least we could do is give everyone a chance to save a bit of dough.

2) My copy of Desktop for Mac came with maintenance. Do I have to buy a new copy or an upgrade?
Nope. The whole point of maintenance is that when you buy it, you're buying 1 year of free upgrades...and that includes major upgrades like this one. You'll get your upgrade key, for free, when we go live with the final version.

3) I just bought your product. You're telling me that I need to pay AGAIN to get the new version?
If you bought Parallels Desktop for Mac in any form (ie, electronic, or retail box) after May 1st, 2007, you'll be automatically upgraded to 3.0 for free. Contact our support or sales line with your registration code and receipt, and we'll get you hooked up.

4) What's with the private beta? I thought all of your betas were open to the public?
In the past, we've always had open betas, meaning that anyone could hit our site and download and try the product out. However, we realized that this type of beta presented a number of problems for our development cycle and for our users:

  • We had a ton of testers, but many of them didn't provide feedback, or gave us feedback that wasn't very useful like "feature X doesn't work" which didn't give us the detail, technical background, or constructive information we needed to make things better and get the product out the door fully functional and on time.
  • Many of our testers didn't read the release notes, and therefore ran into already documented problems, most of which were easily avoidable with a little forethought. These goof-ups effectively killed their experience with the beta and removed them from the pool of constructive criticizers.
  • Some testers ignored our strict "Betas are not supported" policy and overwhelmed support with questions rather than emailing the beta engineering team, meaning that we had a hard time keeping up with support questions from our customers running officially supported builds.

So, this time around, we decided to keep the beta program private and small (ie, only a few thousand testers vs. tens of thousands), and only allow users into the program who we knew would thoroughly test the product and offer constructive feedback. This worked out really well, and its one of the main reasons why the final version is coming so fast, and will be so stable and feature-rich.

When we go live, we will continue our policy of offering a free 15-day fully functional trial, so you'll be able to try before you buy. And, we're always open to ideas to improve, so keep the feedback coming and we'll figure out a way to make the next round of beta testing even better.

Have more questions? Post them as comments or email askben@parallels.com and I'll do my best to get them all answered.

Published Saturday, June 02, 2007 8:10 PM by David Marshall
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