Microsoft's Xamarin purchase: 3 key takeaways for app developers

Dan Kobialka, FierceDeveloperMicrosoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has added a mobile app development platform provider to its portfolio. 

The technology giant last month acquired Xamarin, a company that allows C# and F# developers to build mobile apps on iOS, Android and Windows devices. 

A Microsoft-Xamarin partnership may have been a long time coming. Both companies have worked together in the past, and Microsoft has integrated Xamarin into Visual Studio, Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and the Enterprise Mobility Suite as well.

So what does the Xamarin acquisition mean for app developers going forward? 

Here are three key points:

1. Microsoft has destroyed its Project Astoria tool

Microsoft has decided to kill off Project Astoria, a tool designed to build a bridge between apps developed for Android and Windows 10. Furthermore, Microsoft announced its decision to discontinue Project Astoria only one day after it released details about its Xamarin acquisition. 

Kevin Gallo, Microsoft's corporate vice president of program management for its Windows developer platform team, said that his company now will focus its efforts on Project Islandwood, a program that resembles Project Astoria.

He also said developers should be able to capitalize on Xamarin to design and deploy apps on iOS and Android in the future. 

"Xamarin's approach enables developers to take advantage of the productivity and power of .NET to develop mobile apps, and to use C# to write to the full set of native APIs and mobile capabilities provided by each platform," Gallo wrote in a blog post. 

2. Microsoft is preparing to provide developers with a 'complete' solution

Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Microsoft's cloud and enterprise group, indicated the Xamarin acquisition will empower developers, both now and in the future. 

Ultimately, the acquisition may allow developers to streamline the app creation process. 

"The combination of Xamarin, Visual Studio, Visual Studio Team Services and Azure provides a complete mobile app dev solution that provides everything you need to develop, test, deliver and instrument mobile apps for every device. We are really excited to see what developers build with it," Guthrie wrote in a blog post

3. Additional Microsoft app development acquisitions could be on the way

In addition to Xamarin, Microsoft has acquired Capptain, Acompli, HockeyApp and other app development firms over the past few years.

As such, app developers should expect more of the same from Microsoft, particularly as the mobile app development space continues to grow. 

Technology research firm Gartner, for example, has predicted free mobile app store downloads could exceed 211 million this year. As the demand for innovative mobile apps expands, Microsoft could explore future acquisitions that may reshape the way developers create and launch new offerings.--Dan