Is virtualization enough for Mac development?

Last week, I posted a review on Web Worker Daily of Tubes, a new friend-to-friend file sharing utility.

Tubes is not bad. Very friendly looking, drag-n-drop, kind of zippy when it works…and Windows-only.

Last week, the company announced Mac support in a link that reads, “Tubes™ Now Accessible to Mac Users.”

Boston, MA, and Renton, WA – March 29, 2007 – Adesso Systems, a leading provider of content replication and collaboration solutions, and virtualization leader Parallels, today announced that Adesso’s instant social networking application, TubesTM, is now accessible to Apple Mac users running Parallels Desktop for Mac, the first solution that lets Mac users run Windows and OS X simultaneously, without rebooting. By including full support for Parallels Desktop for Mac, Tubes now enables Mac users to create, connect and share via Tubes as easily as Windows users.

As easily? Windows users don’t have to buy $300 in software ($70 for Parallels, $200ish for the OS) and learn a 2nd operating system to use Tubes.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I really like Parallels. I have nothing against Windows. I’m in Parallels at least 50% of the time. But it bothers me that a developer would optimize for virtualization and call it a day as far as Mac compatibility is concerned. Isn’t this what some in the Mac community feared when Apple first announced the Intel Macs?

I mentioned something along these lines in my WWD review, and received a comment from a Tubes’ developer:

Just to be clear, we’re not bypassing Mac support – In face, we intend a native Mac version soon. In the meantime we did something most small companies don’t do – we took the extra time to make sure our Windows product would would flawlessly for Mac users using Parallels. Most companies, including Apple with Boot Camp, won’t “support” products intended for a different platform but we actually made improvements in the product just for this purpose.

Fair enough, but nowhere on the Tubes site do they say that they’re developing a native version and it’s only hinted in the press release.

This isn’t meant as a dig at Tubes (which is pretty nice), or Parallels (which I can’t live without). It’s more of a general question wondering if this is an area that Mac users are concerned about? Should we worry that development of Mac OS X desktop applications coming from traditionally Windows-centric companies will stall or die altogether since they have the crutch of virtualization to fall back on? Does Intuit need much of an excuse to stop the Mac versions of their software? Or Microsoft?

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