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Microsoft expands IoT service offerings and cross platform computing

William Payne
April 7, 2016
Microsoft has announced new development capabilities and tools for IoT, analytics, machine learning and cloud models. The announcements were made at the company’s Build 2016 conference. The new capabilities include availability of the company’s Azure Service Fabric, new IoT starter kits, and previews of new services the company is planning to launch that will assist IoT and industrial computing, including serverless compute for event driven applications and embedded business intelligence (BI) functions.

The company has also announced a move to expand its offerings in non-Microsoft native platforms, such as Linux, Android and UNIX, building on the company’s recent purchase of the California based Linux Mono developer Xamarin, which Microsoft acquired in late February. Xamarin’s products provide a bridge between Microsoft .Net built and developed applications, and software environments such Linux, Android and Apple’s OS X platforms.

Azure Service Fabric is designed to allow developers to build cloud based applications as series or collections of microservices. This is designed to improve reliability and performance of applications running on scalable and embeddable platforms.

“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, EVP Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise.

“With 30 regions worldwide — more than every major cloud provider combined — Azure’s massive scale means developers and businesses alike can focus on creating the next generation of amazing applications, not their underlying cloud infrastructure. This makes our cloud the de facto choice for enterprises of today and tomorrow — and today, more than 85 percent of the Fortune 500 agree.”

Guthrie also announced that Microsoft is helping developers build native cross-platform mobile applications by including Xamarin’s capabilities in Visual Studio Community and also making Xamarin Studio for OS X free as a community edition. In addition, Visual Studio Enterprise subscribers will now have access to Xamarin’s enterprise capabilities at no additional cost. The company also announced a commitment to open source the Xamarin SDK, including its runtime, libraries and command line tools, as part of the .NET Foundation in the coming months.

According to Guthrie, Microsoft is extending its commitment to offering choice across every platform and device — merging the .NET and Xamarin ecosystems together to provide a unified mobile development and DevOps experience. Guthrie claimed that developers can now deliver fully native cross-platform mobile app experiences to all major devices, including iOS, Android and Windows.