Microsoft’s Acquisition of Xamarin is Good News for C# Developers

by Abel Avram on Feb 25, 2016 |

Microsoft has closed the deal with cross-platform mobile software development specialist Xamarin to buy the company and their technology. It is expected for most of Xamarin's technological assets to be integrated into Microsoft, benefiting the developers.

The expected happened: Microsoft has decided to buy Xamarin. If this had happened 10 years ago, one could suspect Microsoft was trying to terminate with open source and cross-platform .NET, tightening the grip around Windows. But not today. Not with Microsoft’s actual position in the mobile space and under Satya Nadella’s leadership. Microsoft has come a long way in terms of embracing open source, open standards and openness in collaboration with other major players in the industry during the last several years. Xamarin’s acquisition complements this trend.

Scott Guthrie, Executive VP of Cloud and Enterprise at Microsoft, has outlined Microsoft’s plans for Xamarin. They want to give .NET developers the opportunity to reach, beside Windows, the major mobile platforms: iOS and Android. It is all meant to provide the “best experiences to all developers, on any device, with powerful tools, an open platform and a global cloud.”

What does Xamarin have to offer? First of all is the cross-platform .NET solution for iOS, Android, Windows and Mac. Developers will now be able to write C# code that translates into native code for all these platforms. This is the vision behind the Universal Windows Platform taken a step further towards other platforms. This strengthens Microsoft’s strategy as a major player in the cloud industry with C# and Visual Studio as fundamental pillars. Most mobile applications need a back-end in the cloud, and one optimized for C# and integrated with Visual Studio will be waiting for them on Azure.

Second is the Xamarin Studio. While its maintenance may continue for a while, it is quite likely that most of its underlying technology will be integrated into Visual Studio. Same for Xamarin.Forms. Xamarin Test Cloud will probably be integrated into Microsoft Azure, and Xamarin Insights into Visual Studio Application Insights. The future of Xamarin University seems uncertain to us. Most of the help documentation will be most likely included into MSDN.

Xamarin also brings in over 15,000 customers, over 1.3M unique developers, and “tens of millions of dollars in annual revenue,” according to Nat Friedman, CEO and co-founder of Xamarin.

What does this acquisition mean to developers? One of the issues with Xamarin adoption was cost. .NET developers already had to invest in Visual Studio tools, and using Xamarin Studio meant additional costs. Now, they will have all of that through Visual Studio. It remains to see if Microsoft will create special editions of Visual Studio for cross-platform development with higher license costs. Also, it will be interesting to see if the Community Edition will include the full Xamarin technology or just the Starter edition as it does now.

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What does it mean for ... by Mark N


Microsoft Strategy by Michael Davis

Embrace Extend Exterminate

Re: Microsoft Strategy by Dzmitry Lahoda

Yes. The will start from ide.
C# is bad if no ide. They will kill monodevelop. VS is windows only. They will allow write portables in VS. Then will kill this feature.

Miguel still on the team? by Kris K

Interesting to see if Miguel will still stick around. I remember Don Box publicly wooing him to join MS, a while back and he stood his ground.

Re: Miguel still on the team? by Vinicius Rocha

That's a good question! I am very curious to know about that as well.

Forms future? by Andy Dent

What do you mean by the short "Same for Xamarin.Forms". Do you see it being extinguished, just as it's getting to be a pretty good solution? Do you just see an alignment of Forms XAML with MS Xaml? Was it just a cute throwaway line?

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