so Parallels 16 (P16) and Fusion 12 (F12) are now released. Let's compare. F12 standard (now called Player) version cost; now free for personal use. P16 standard cost $79, even for students and home use. F12 Pro cost $149 one time, and that includes THREE licenses, cross-platform (licenses good on Fusion for Mac or Workstation for Windows or Linux). P16 Pro cost $99 PER YEAR, one license per computer. In other words, P16 has not changed its pricing structure with the new release. VmWare has significantly lowered TCO with latest release. Apple Silicon (AS) is coming; the expert consensus is that virtualizing (not to be confused with emulating) Windows, which is Intel based, will be basically impossible on AS based Macs. Emulation MAY be possible, but we don't know enough yet about performance, etc, to understand how it would work and how WELL, and if any 3rd party vendor care enough to put in the resources to even overcome the technical hurdles to build an Intel emulation product over AS. Is the market demand enough to warrant it?
So, in other words, Vmware recognizes the run for Desktop virtualization is over in the next year or so, and is rewarding its user base by lowering cost to help ease them through a transition, at the same time keeping them up to date and running on the current Intel based Macs for as long as users want or keep their Intel Macs.
Parallels has opted to continue to charge (milk) its users by NOT reducing cost of ownership, even knowing that this is an End of Life product scenario for Parallels Desktop as we know it. Understandable, because unlike Vmware, outside of Parallels Desktop Mac, they don't have other products or solutions advanced or established enough to offset the lost of revenue as need for P Desktop declines in the next few years. They have to milk the cow when it is the only cow you have, while they can.
VMware has firmly established alternative technologies once Fusion for Desktop is gone (cloud based and application virtualization), they have a firmly established product line(s) and business in Enterprise. They can and will continue to support Workstation for Windows and Linux. Parallels has a steep hill to climb if tries to compete with VMware in the cloud and server based solutions for Enterprise, because it has to first establish a consistent MATURE technology solution on Intel hardware geared towards Enterprise and cloud and server based solutions.
If you are personal, home user, F12 makes more sense right now than buying or upgrading to P16, considering that virtualizing Windows on Intel Macs will decline as Intel Macs grow old and are eventually replaced by AS based Macs; in fact if you are already using Fusion 11 and don't mind sticking with Mojave on your Intel Mac for another year or two, there's no reason to upgrade to F12 unless you need one of the new features (Direct X 11?). The money you would put down the drain for a new or continued SUBSCRIPTION to Parallels, OR to upgrade F11 to F12, you could apply towards a decent refurb Windows PC box and run Windows natively. It is ridiculously easy and affordable to buy quality refurb Windows boxes; I don't mean low end either, i7 cpus only 2 or 3 generations back. For most SMBs that are Mac shops but still need Windows application access, that is probably the solution for the future, get an inexpensive used Windows box, stick it in the corner and access on a network with Remote Desktop, Citrix or any of a dozen remote methods.
That's my two cents, and I'm not a Parallels hater or Vmware shill; in the last 20 years I've used and recommended both; personally, to co-workers and to clients, to the tune of thousands of dollars in licenses.