It is no surprise that these two companies were going to merge their destinies together, the main question was When?. And some information from the first quarter of 2016 marked the path.
First of all we have the delay of Windows 10 Mobile, I have been expecting this release since december and we a new hope on receiving the production ready build at the end of february based on rumors but to be honest I do not belive that this will happen and the release date will have to wait, until Build 16?, maybe but it is not important.
Next we have the market shares for mobile OS where we can see that Windows Phone 8/8.1 and Nadella`s message in past january where he admitted that its share in the mobile market were “unsustainable”.
Next we have the “Bridges project” Astoria for Android and Westminster for iOS. Both are tooling to use native Android and iOS source code and compile them in to Windows Universal Apps, the Astoria project has been stopped but Westminster continued its development, it still is a preview but its active.
Microsoft success with Surface has won some support from builders and we did saw some new surface like devices in the Mobile World Congress, here we can see that the business segment is not ready to use iPads on their operations and they prefer a Windows OS.
I think Microsoft finally realized that Windows Phone was a lost fight and then switched to plan B, buy Xamarin and integrate the tooling tightly with its products and services in order give developers a code once use everywhere experience powered by them.
Im assumming that these actions will lead to this new scenario:
Windows Universal Apps will be really Universal
Xamarin and Microsoft have been working with this and Xamarin.Forms is the initial release for this effort, somehow Xamarin.Forms will be adapted to use the same UserControls as Windows Universal Apps, we are half way there.
There will be three IDEs
It is not easy to create a Visual Studio for Mac. Visual Studio has more than 10 years of existence, it is not easy to port a powerful IDE like this to another OS, Visual Studio Code its a good IDE and I love it for Node development but there are a lot of features and panels missing that are already present in Xamarin Studio. Xamarin Studio its a good IDE that works on Mac, Windows and Linux(as MonoDevelop without mobile tooling) and it is an IDE that is going to incorporate Roslyn, the new compiler platform for .Net that you already can find in Visual Studio 2015.
If somehow the new version of Xamarin (6.0) has been created in the same way that Xamarin.Forms has been created and with that I mean that Microsoft has been involved in the process; We may think that somehow plugins and extensions could be created as Portable Extensions in NuGet packages (If we already have NuGet runtimes, is it too much NuGet Extensions?), all running over Roslyn and NuGet.
Windows 10 Mobile will exist as an accesory
I can see that Windows 10 Mobile will be an option for businsess where the company requires that the employee carries a secure company device, it will not be high priority project for some time.
.Net Core will use librarias created by Xamarin
The purchase of Xamarin were not neded for this but now projects like SkiaSharp can complement the missing parts in .Net Core and could be boosted with this purchase.
Microsoft will invade the the other Mobile OS
This is not new, we already saw this with Office, Cortana and Xbox. With this we will see more apps coming.
Microsoft will incorporate Xamarin Test to TFS
It is a missing piece of TFS for mobiles and its a great tool for automated cloud testing.
Xamarin Insights will disappear
It will be absorbed by the current ApplicationInsights service in Azure.
Xamarin License cost will be lowered
Somehow the cost will go down and tiers will be redefined.
We will have more information in the next Microsoft Build Conference, we will know what are the real plans and we will be able to see if any of these predictions were true.
Cant wait for March 30th.