Microsoft commits to open-source Xamarin with its Visual Studio announcement

Dan Kobialka, FierceDeveloperMicrosoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) launched a free community version of Xamarin Studio for OS X at its Build 2016 event in San Francisco last month.

Also, Microsoft announced Visual Studio Enterprise subscribers now can access Xamarin's enterprise capabilities at no additional cost. 

So what do these announcements mean for developers?

Microsoft pointed out the news highlights its commitment "to offering choice and flexibility to every customer across every platform and device."

"Now developers can deliver fully native cross-platform mobile app experiences to all major devices, including iOS, Android and Windows," the company said in a prepared statement.

Microsoft acquired Xamarin in February and had previously integrated Xamarin into Visual Studio, Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and the Enterprise Mobility Suite.

And going forward, Microsoft wants to ensure all developers globally can reap the benefits of Visual Studio. 

"We want to make this technology available to as many developers as possible," Microsoft's Julia Liuson, corporate VP of Visual Studio, told Fortune

In addition, Microsoft made several other key announcements for developers at Build 2016, including:

  1. A commitment to open source the Xamarin SDK -- Microsoft said it will explore the possibility of open source for its Xamarin software development kit runtime, libraries and command line tools as part of the .NET Foundation in the near future.

  2. New Azure services -- These services are designed to help developers "address today's operational realities and take advantage of tomorrow's emerging trends, such as the Internet of Things and microservices," Microsoft noted.

  3. Office developer opportunities -- Microsoft illustrated how developers can use the Office platform to bolster their customer partnerships.

  4. Microsoft Graph capabilities -- Microsoft highlighted how the Microsoft Graph unified application programming interface (API) endpoint provides developers with insights about how workers can be more productive.

Ultimately, Microsoft appears to be targeting ways to empower developers and organizations worldwide with state-of-the-art tools they can use to simplify their operations.

"Microsoft is the only cloud vendor that supports the diverse needs of every organization and developer -- from core infrastructure services to platform services and tools to software-as-a-service -- for any language, across any platform," said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise Group.

Guthrie also noted Microsoft remains dedicated to helping developers "more easily build native cross-platform mobile applications." -- Dan