Microsoft Buying Xamarin to Build Mobile App Dev Powerhouse

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2016-02-24 Print this article Print
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Nat Friedman, co-founder and CEO of Xamarin, called the deal a perfect fit.

"This acquisition is a new beginning for Xamarin—the company and its products—and is an opportunity to help many, many more developers build great apps," Friedman said in a blog post. "Like many of you, I see Microsoft and Xamarin as a perfect fit. Microsoft's mobile-first, cloud-first strategy is a great match for the Xamarin products and team."

Gartner analyst Thomas Murphy puts the acquisition into perspective, given IBM's news this week to tighten its partnership with Apple around the Swift programming language.

"I think this is a great buy, a needed buy and, yes, it was a long time coming, but I think the process of partner, investor, buyer is healthy," Murphy told eWEEK. "It fits Microsoft's move to be open platform. It provides a level counter to the extended relation of IBM and Apple and the Swift announcement this week. It is interesting to see IBM/Apple write native applications that utilize hardware, while Microsoft is going open—a flip in the world."

IDC analyst Al Hilwa agreed. "This is a great exit for Xamarin," he said. "Speculation of this acquisition has been going on for a couple of years, but now it makes more sense than ever. Microsoft is increasingly pivoting to open source and a multiplatform approach in its mobile strategy, and so this is in line with what they are doing. Xamarin has built a strong business around the Microsoft .NET ecosystem of developers, giving these folks the opportunity to develop iOS and Android apps. Most of these developers are maintaining or also developing apps for Windows given their C# skills, so this is generally a positive move for them to see the technology inside of Microsoft."

Moreover, Xamarin develops and maintains the Calabash open-source project for mobile acceptance testing. And the company also offers the Xamarin Test Cloud, which automates app testing on more than 2,000 real devices in the cloud. Plus, Xamarin Insights provides analytics for mobile apps so developers can track how their applications are doing.

"You have Google and Amazon with some level of device testing but not real solid services," Murphy said. "I think this will impact Perfecto Mobile—who used to be partners with HP, IBM and Microsoft and now each has their own thing—as I would expect that Microsoft will begin to include Xamarin device cloud access as part of TFS and MSDN subscriptions. I believe it gives them a very broad platform to build into mobile enablement. There are lots of little elements to this, but overall I find it to be a positive and strong move."



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