Every once in a while, there’s news that you could swear you have read before. Such is the case with Wednesday’s announcement that Microsoft is buying Xamarin, a mobile software development specialist. Microsoft executive vice president Scott Guthrie broke the news in a blog post.
But, after those initial stories—crickets. Instead of acquiring Xamarin, Microsoft announced an expanded partnership with it in November of 2014.
So now it’s doing the deed, and the only real question is why now? Clearly San Francisco-based Xamarin, which grew out of an earlier project called Mono, fills a void in Microsoft’s mobile strategy now as it did before.
Sravish Sridar, chief executive of Kinvey, another mobile development specialist, said Xamarin provided Microsoft .NET developers with an “excellent” toolset to deliver cross-platform native mobile apps.
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“One of the weaker parts of Microsoft’s mobile-first strategy was making it easy for developers to build cross-platform apps, and with the acquisition of Xamarin, Microsoft has shown that it is trying bring value to developers, irrespective of mobile OS platform they are building apps on,” Sridhar added.
Xamarin co-founders Miguel de Icaza and Nat Friedman, both well-respected among developers, will stay at Microsoft, a spokesperson said. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Microsoft (MSFT) chief executive officer Satya Nadella has stressed that the company will support all manner of mobile devices, including those that do not run its operating systems. This makes sense because most smartphones and tablets run Apple (APPL) iOS or Google Android, not any flavor of Windows.