Microsoft and Xamarin tighten mobile app-development ties

Microsoft and Xamarin tighten mobile app-development ties

Summary: Microsoft and cross-platform mobile-app development vendor Xamarin are tightening their technical and marketing ties under a new partnership deal.


Microsoft and Xamarin are stepping up their integration work to make it easier for developers to write apps for iOS and Android devices using C#.


On November 13, the pair announced there's now tighter sales and marketing collaboration between the two companies.

Visual Studio already supports integration with Xamarin as an add-in. But under the new partnership, this integration goes a step further.

Xamarin is releasing today full integration with Microsoft's Portable Class Library projects in iOS and Android apps. This PCL support was built jointly with Microsoft, Xamarin execs said.

The pair also announced that Xamarin's recently launched Xamarin University training course is going to be free to MSDN subscribers starting in January 2014. And MSDN subscribers also will be getting new trial and pricing options for Xamarin subscriptions for individuals and teams as part of the deal.

Xamarin now claims to have 400,000 developers, addding more than 1,000 a day, according to CEO and cofounder Nat Friedman. The majority of apps built using Xamarin are line-of-business/enterprise apps, according to Xamarin officials.

While Xamarin's founders were part of Microsoft's Visual Studio Industry Partner (VSIP) program for years, Microsoft officials maintained a somewhat skeptical attitude toward Xamarin for a while because they weren't sure they wanted to extend Visual Studio support for non-Microsoft platforms. That changed once Microsoft removed restrictions on partners for extending VS to support non-Microsoft platforms.

Xamarin officials have maintained that C# is the ideal mobile-development language and the one that's easiest for mobile devs of all stripes to use to write iOS, Android and Windows 8 apps.

To date, "we've been doing this work largely on our own," said Friedman. But a couple of months ago, Microsoft approached Xamarin about creating a tighter partnership, Friedman said.

Friedman declined to disclose terms of the deal, but said there was little money exchanged between the two as part of the new arrangement.

"This is just the start of a wider future partnership with Microsoft," Friedman said. He noted that there could be opportunities for Xamarin to provide cross-platform development support for other Microsoft products like Office and SharePoint.

Topics: Mobility, Android, iOS, Microsoft, Software Development


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Well, just an announcement of Xamarins demise...

    Just look at the other "tightened" partnerships...
    • the xamarin lap dog will soon be eaten

      by the M$ beast. Honest companies are not collaborating with the evil, but embrace FOSS.
      LlNUX Geek
      • xamarin is FOSS based

        Mono is open source.
        • it is patent encumbered

          by M$ .nyet. FOSS luminaries have already exposed the scam:

          LlNUX Geek
  • Thats great news

    I watched the live demo, really cool.
    • and if this takes off, MS will be able to pull off a classic

      embrace and extinguish plan. Then maybe then can they can gain a desktop like dominance of mobile and eliminate the great competition we have in mobile currently. Go MS!
    • don't trust M$ sponsored propaganda!

      those "400,000 developers" are actually visits to their lame web site.
      Nobody uses M$ tainted software as provided by the xamarin puppet.
      LlNUX Geek
      • Seriously, get help.

        Cloggedbottom already is you.
    • the amount of froth (tons)

      Is proportional to the fear of what this means

      this is an amazing interop story. Kudos to Microsoft and the amazing Xamarin team
  • Maybe Xamarin can give us back .NET for WinRT

    The real .NET without the crazily reduced Windows Tailored.
  • $600 discount for individual MSDN subscribers

    ...but $1,399 is still a non-starter for most of us individual developers who would like to play around with it and don't expect to make profit on anything. The 90-day teaser isn't an attractive option because I'm sure I'll love it and I'm also sure I can't drop $1,400 for it 90 days from now. I was hoping MS had licensed the suite and rolled it into VS and/or MSDN.
    • Xamarin IDE

      Xamarin has their own IDE that you can use. You can use it for free to write "small" apps, just to get a feel for the product.
      Honeyboy Wilson
    • Cheaper alternative to Xamarin

      Just noticed your comment about the high cost of Xamarin. We have the same problem - looks great but no way we can stretch to that. Just noticed a new competitor to them called RemObjects C# who launched recently. They're charging $699 for ALL platforms, per developer with $499 annual renewal for updates. Check them out if you're interested - I'm not affiliated btw. They must have Zamarin rattled cos saw a spat on Twitter between Miguel de Icaza and the CEO of RemObjects within a few days of them launching - I thought Miguel trying to slam a new competitor publicly was bad form on his part.
  • Next question

    When will Microsoft buy Xamarin and claim they invented that stuff?
    • "When will Apple buy Xamarin and claim they invented that stuff?"

  • Miguel de Icaza is .NET Developers only Hope

    After Microsoft dropped .NET, and XNA we all drifted over to Xamarin, so we could use all our .NET skills to develop not only for Windows 8, WP8 but also for iOS and Android.

    So this is very interesting news, as an Indie .NET, MonoGame/XNA developer I am on an Indie Xamarin lisence, using Visual Studio to develop MonoGames for W8/Wp8 and Android.

    I cannot see Xamarin being swallowed by Microsoft, Miguel is far smarter and independent to allow that to happen.
  • Xamarin Has A Competitor

    I've been looking at Xamarin for a while but it's way too expensive for our small shop ($999 per platform, per developer, per year). I've discovered a newly launched competitor which enables you to do the same thing, develop app for iOS, MacOSX and Android in C#, and they charging $699 for ALL platforms, per developer (with $499 per year after that). The product's called RemObjects C# and the website is - I'm not affiliated to the company. They've already got Xamarin rattled cos I noticed a spat between Miguel de Icaza and the CEO of RemObjects on Twitter within days of their launch!