Is Microsoft Going To Revitalise .NET With Xamarin Acquisition?
Written by Mike James   
Tuesday, 18 March 2014

It is speculation but it makes good sense. CRN is reporting that Microsoft is in the final stages of negotiation to buy, or invest big time, in .NET developer Xamarin.

In recent times Xamarin has been more of a supporter of .NET than Microsoft itself.

The software company created by the engineers who brought us Mono has taken the .NET languages and framework and implemented ways to make use of them to create apps for Android and iOS, not to mention the many other improvements it has made.

While Microsoft seems to prefer HTML and JavaScript, Xamarin has seen the value in .NET as a cross-platform programming environment and built tools to do the job. 

Many .NET developers have watched as Xamarin, the open source company founded by Miguel Icaza, demonstrated how much Microsoft had lost interest in .NET. Only a short time ago it would have been unthinkable for .NET to be spearheaded by a third party, let alone an open source third party.  

Recently Microsoft has been paying more attention to Xamarin and in November the pair announced closer development and marketing ties. 

The recent report in CRN suggests that there would be many advantages to Microsoft in acquiring Xamarin, but most of the ones quoted are doubtful. Microsoft is unlikely to acquire lots of developers for Windows Phone as a result of the influx of .NET mobile developers because Windows Phone remains an unattractive proposition.

In the same way, the idea that it might make it easier for iOS and Android apps to migrate to Windows Phone is equally unlikely because each makes use of the native code for the UI - it is mostly the apps logic and backend that remains the same. In other words, .NET iOS and Android apps don't make use of XAML or WPF for their UI.




The main advantage of an acquisition would be to reassure programmers that Xamarin .NET technology is a core Microsoft technology and it allows Microsoft to make up for lost time in developing .NET into a wider ecosystem. Given Microsoft now has an Android phone connecting to Microsoft services, what could be more reasonable than to further .NET development on Android?

There are signs that Microsoft is getting more interested in .NET and its more established technologies. Until recently it looked as if DirectX 11 would be the last, but in a turn around the company announced that DirectX 12 would be discussed at GDC. Mary Jo Foley at Znet has also spotted the fact that Microsoft is advertising for a programmer to work on the next version of WPF - another technology that looked as if it was heading for the scrap heap. 

Could it be that Microsoft really is changing course? 

The new CEO, Satya Nadella, might well be re-evaluating Microsoft's assets in a move to take control of the mess. 

Oddly there is a press event being held on the March 27 that concerns mobile and cloud technologies. Could this be the announcement of the acquisition of Xamarin or just the speculated launch of Office for iOS. 

Finally, it is worth reminding ourselves that at the moment everyone concerned is not saying anything and so far only CRN claims to have any inside information. It could all be wrong - but at the very least it looks more likely there will be a new version of WPF. 


More Information

Microsoft In Talks To Acquire Mobile App Development Startup Xamarin

Is Microsoft about to buy Xamarin?

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 18 March 2014 )