Xamarin acquisition amplifies Microsoft’s comprehensive mobile development strategy – ZDNet

8 months ago Comments Off on Xamarin acquisition amplifies Microsoft’s comprehensive mobile development strategy – ZDNet

By Jeffrey Hammond, VP, Principal Analyst and Michael Facemire, Principal Analyst at Forrester

special feature

Enterprise Apps: The Next Generation

Enterprise Apps: The Next Generation

Enterprise applications power the heart of business productivity, but they are traditionally difficult to implement, upgrade, and innovate. We look at how the next generation of enterprise apps could change the game.

Yesterday Microsoft announced that it is acquiring Xamarin. Terms were not disclosed. This move makes Microsoft a must-consider option throughout the stack when it comes to mobile development. For those not familiar with Xamarin, here’s what Microsoft is getting:

  • Cross-platform native mobile app development, in C#. Xamarin’s origins include Mono (remember that?),and it represents the expansion of the .Net runtime to other platforms, including iOS and Android. Developers write C# code that will be natively compiled to these devices, which runs at similar speed as apps written in Objective-C, Swift, or Java.
  • Automated acceptance testing for mobile apps. Xamarin develops and maintains the Calabash open source project for mobile acceptance testing. We’ve seen growing popularity of Calabash amongst enterprise mobile dev teams, especially Global SIs, like those we reviewed in last year’s Enterprise Mobile App Services Forrester Waves.
  • A device cloud for system and performance testing. The Xamarin Test Cloud automates app testing on more than 2000 real devices in the cloud. We expect to see this service folded into Azure in short order, with a low cost on-demand model to compete with Amazon Device Farm, Google Cloud Test Lab, and PerfectoMobile.
  • On device analytics to measure mobile apps. Measuring apps is just as important as building them. While the importance of analytic instrumentation is still a work in progress for many enterprise developers, experienced mobile devs get it. Xamarin Insights provides a basic working set of technical and engagement level measures for mobile app dev teams.

See also: Microsoft is buying mobile tool vendor Xamarin

At Forrester we’ve been expecting this acquisition for a while — it just makes too much sense for both parties and their customers. Here’s why:

Xamarin is a solid cross-platform mobile app development play if you already have in house .Net skills or have invested in the Visual Studio set of development and application lifecycle tools. The next shoe to drop will be the existing Xamarin partnerships with IBM, Kony, Oracle and SAP. We don’t think this acquisition will exclude these prior partners from leveraging Xamarin from a technology perspective; but we also wouldn’t be surprised if it altered the attractiveness of the relationship to these firms.

We’ve previously written about how Satya Nadella has righted Microsoft’s ship over the past two years. Now the company is making a strong move to be the development platform of choice for all mobile platforms, not just for Windows 10. Azure now supports multiple languages for back-end cloud development, including NodeJS. Development tooling is *much* more accessible by all audiences, both .Net shops and otherwise thanks to VS Code and lighter-weight Visual Studio development suite offerings.

Microsoft has established a strong set of digital application platform services and developers are responding. This acquisition is yet another sign of the new cross-platform, public-cloud focused Microsoft. We don’t expect it will be the last.

Xamarin acquisition amplifies Microsoft’s comprehensive mobile development strategy – ZDNet