The winds of change are blowing at Microsoft, and rarely so clearly as in the company’s product lines for software developers.
Just about a year ago, Microsoft paid around $400 million for Xamarin, a startup that lets programmers write their code once and easily turn it into an app for PCs, Macs, Android, iPhone, and almost anything else. And Xamarin feeds right into that strategy, says de Icaza of MicroSoft. “It turns out that Xamarin developers have an affinity for [Microsoft] Azure [cloud] services,” he says. If you use Xamarin to build an app, you’re more likely to use Azure to power it on the backend, too.
Pre-acquisition, Xamarin already had a sizable customer base. Now, even Microsoft’s big business customers are getting in on the action. Many of them already use Visual Studio to do their programming, so the addition of Xamarin greatly simplifies their process of making apps for multiple operating systems.
“We are getting lots of requests from companies that want to build on Xamarin,” says Liuson (MicroSoft). In fact, she says, British Airways is using it to build all of their apps for multiple operating systems, letting them have one core programming team rather than one for each platform.