Is it better to have a strong partnership with a busy software development company, or to own it outright? For tech behemoth Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), as far as mobile cross-platform specialist Xamarin is concerned, it's the latter. The company announced in an official blog post Wednesday that it is now the owner of Xamarin, although the price and terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Xamarin, in Microsoft's words, "provides a rich mobile development offering that enables developers to build mobile apps using C# and deliver fully native mobile app experiences to all major devices." These include the big two mobile operating systems: Alphabet's Android, and Apple's iOS.

(C# is a programming language developed by Microsoft.)

Does it matter?
The Xamarin buy fits in well with Microsoft's recent emphasis on providing solutions for mobile devices. After all, that's the huge IT market of the future, not the desktop segment the company so thoroughly dominated for decades.

So it's an opportunistic purchase for the company. It's not a particularly surprising one, however. Discussion of this deal has been in the air for several years, with rumors bubbling up every now and then that Microsoft was about to pull the trigger. The two companies officially became partners in 2013, and expanded that partnership the following year, with Xamarin's solutions finding their way into several Microsoft products.

In the mobile world dominated by Android and iOS, Microsoft remains a minor player. Owning Xamarin will strengthen its position in the segment, but the company has a long way to go before it will be a presence there on the order of an Alphabet or Apple.

Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Eric Volkman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), and Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.