Mobile // Mobile Applications
12:16 PM
Connect Directly
Simplify Security & Management of Office 365
Nov 17, 2016
If your organization is moving to Office 365, you're facing the challenge of dealing with identity ...Read More>>

Microsoft Buys Xamarin To Broaden Mobile Footprint

Microsoft acquires Xamarin, which specializes in cross-platform mobile app development, to strengthen its mobile portfolio.

9 Windows 10 Apps For A Productivity Edge
9 Windows 10 Apps For A Productivity Edge
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Microsoft has confirmed its purchase of Xamarin, a company focused on cross-platform mobile application development. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Xamarin enables .NET developers to use Microsoft's C# programming language to build fully native mobile apps that can run across platforms including iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac using a singular code base.

Since it was founded in 2011, Xamarin has expanded to more than 350 employees, wrote co-founder and CEO Nat Friedman in a blog post from the company. Its 15,000+ customers span 120 countries and include business giants like Honeywell, Coca-Cola Bottling, Alaska Airlines, and JetBlue.

[HP brings Windows 10 Mobile to businesses with the Elite x3 smartphone.]

Microsoft and Xamarin are longtime partners. In 2013, the two companies announced a global collaboration to help mobile app developers more easily build cross-platform apps using Microsoft's Visual Studio.

Since then, Xamarin has been integrated into Microsoft's Visual Studio, Microsoft Azure, Office 365, and the Enterprise Mobility Suite to give developers an end-to-end solution for building native apps for different platforms. The collaboration also aimed to provide developers with training and tools.

Rumors of a potential acquisition have been floating throughout the tech industry since the partnership kicked off. On Feb. 24, Scott Guthrie, executive VP of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise Group, confirmed the deal.

"With today's acquisition announcement we will be taking this work much further to make our world class developer tools and services even better with deeper integration and seamless mobile app dev experiences," he wrote in a blog post announcing the news.

"The combination of Xamarin, Visual Studio, Visual Studio Team Services, and Azure provides a complete mobile app dev solution that provides everything you need to develop, test, deliver, and instrument mobile apps for every device," he continued. "We are really excited to see what developers build with it."

The acquisition fits well into Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's "mobile-first, cloud-first" vision. Since taking the helm of the company, Nadella has overseen the expansion of Microsoft's mobile offerings to include apps built for rival platforms iOS and Android.

As sales of Windows Phone continue to lag, Microsoft has taken a new approach to expanding its mobile footprint: building its apps and services for all platforms so consumers can use them regardless of their preferred device.

(Image: Microsoft)

(Image: Microsoft)

Of course, Redmond also wants to boost the offerings of its Windows Store, which is comparatively sparse alongside the Apple App Store and Google Play. It needs to boost the appeal of creating Windows apps.

Enter Xamarin. Developers can use Xamarin tools to build apps that run across several platforms, including Windows. This could strengthen Microsoft's Universal Windows Platform, which centers on the idea of apps running across Windows 10 devices including smartphones, tablets, and PCs.

This is the latest in a string of mobile-focused acquisitions at Redmond. Over the past year, Microsoft has also snapped up messaging app Talko, calendar app Sunrise, to-do list app Wunderlist, and mobile finance tool MileIQ.

The purchase of Xamarin is interesting because, unlike the app-focused acquisitions, this one specifically targets developers -- an audience Microsoft desperately needs in order to strengthen its "One Windows" platform.

Guthrie also noted he will further explain plans related to the Xamarin acquisition at Microsoft's Build 2016 conference. The sold-out event starts March 30 at San Francisco's Moscone Center.

Rising stars wanted. Are you an IT professional under age 30 who's making a major contribution to the field? Do you know someone who fits that description? Submit your entry now for InformationWeek's Pearl Award. Full details and a submission form can be found here.

Kelly is an associate editor for InformationWeek. She most recently reported on financial tech for Insurance & Technology, before which she was a staff writer for InformationWeek and InformationWeek Education. When she's not catching up on the latest in tech, Kelly enjoys ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Ninja
2/27/2016 | 9:54:24 AM
MSFT has absolutely the right idea here.

Very much unlike Apple which is trying very hard to fight the massive tidal wave of Android Phones (all across the Spectrum) and fighting unneccsary battles with the Feds;MSFT has the right strategy in the Mobile space today.

They just want their software on each and every phone in the market & in every Single Enterprise-It hardly matters what the OS is for them today.

Good Going MSFT!

They really have turned it around under Nadella.
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Among 688 respondents, 46% have deployed mobile apps, with an additional 24% planning to in the next year. Soon all apps will look like mobile apps – and it's past time for those with no plans to get cracking.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Top IT Trends to Watch in Financial Services
IT pros at banks, investment houses, insurance companies, and other financial services organizations are focused on a range of issues, from peer-to-peer lending to cybersecurity to performance, agility, and compliance. It all matters.
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on for the week of October 9, 2016. We'll be talking with the editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll