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VMware And The Chocolate Factory: Macs Run Windows Apps

Online chocolate company TCHO has standardized on the Macintosh but still needs to run a variety of Windows applications.
A San Francisco company dedicated to making tasty dark chocolate has adopted the VMware Fusion flavor of virtualization for its Mac desktops.

Cash Shurley, IT director at TCHO, an artisan maker of chocolate that sells only online, said he selected VMware's product Fusion to run Windows applications on the Macintosh after test driving several alternatives, including Parallels' Desktop for the Mac.

"I personally had issues with Parallels crashing (kernel panic) my MacBook Pro," Shurley responded in an e-mail message on his choice of Fusion. He said he had trouble getting a Parallels virtual machine on a Mac to let the desktop go to sleep without "manual intervention," something that he wanted to happen automatically for energy-saving purposes.

TCHO has standardized on the Macintosh, but still needs to run Windows applications, such as the Yahoo Zimbra Collaboration Suite, UPS WorldShip for package shipment, QuickBooks POS merchant accounting, NetSuite online applications, and BlackBerry Desktop communications.

Shurley said the startup chocolatier is running Windows XP applications on 15 Macintoshes in Fusion virtual machines, saving the expense of buying separate hardware for the Windows apps. The Macs are running OS X Leopard.

In some cases, Shurley and staff have set up shortcuts to help users launch VMs in which to run the Windows apps. But on the whole, he said the use of VMware virtual machines has lead to "a minimal learning curve. Users seem very comfortable using Windows apps within the VM."

TCHO is not an acronym standing for its founder, Timothy Childs, a spokesman for the chocolate maker said. Childs is building a "transparent" chocolate factory at Pier 17 in San Francisco where customers coming off the street will be able to see how chocolate is made. The factory is being implemented by architects Holt/Hinhart. Spokeswoman Tami Kelly said the "ho" in the name does not stand for Holt, even though the startup capitalizes TCHO as its name. The stands for the convergence of "technology" and "chocolate," she said.

One of the slogans on its Web site is "We make obsessively good dark chocolate," a topic that warms the hearts of San Francisco food lovers. To clarify, TCHO adds a firm denial of the potential horror that it merely reformulates chocolate produced elsewhere. "We are not re-melters," it declares. Its chocolate is currently on sale only online at http://TCHO.com/buy.