Bonum Certa Men Certa

The Simple Truth About What Xamarin Was All Along to Microsoft, Just Like Ximian and Novell (Post-Patent Deal)

"Now [Novell is] little better than a branch of Microsoft"

--LinuxToday Managing Editor



Big caterpillar



Summary: A longer and more detailed analysis of Microsoft's official takeover of the Mono team (and by extension a so-called 'company', whose finances are secret but are linkable back to Microsoft through Ignition Partners)

THERE is a sense of relief now that Microsoft has 'collected' its moles; they're back home (or at the 'base') where they belong. Our latest post on this matter (we covered it shortly after this became publicly known, hence composed in somewhat of a rush) is quite a few days old. That post, which focused on Xamarin's role and duties for Microsoft, was a little tongue-in-cheek, and it probably lacked context which those who are unfamiliar with these matters may truly need.



"After Novell had purchased Ximian this move was characterised by a Novell executive as a "red carpet" (to a Microsoft deal)."Techrights has spent nearly a decade writing about Novell, which was the previous incubator or 'host' (in a sort of embryonic sense) of Mono (see this Wiki page for a detailed chronology). After Novell had purchased Ximian this move was characterised by a Novell executive as a "red carpet" (to a Microsoft deal). See this complete transcript from 10 years ago. A lot of people don't remember this; nor do they remember the significant role which Miguel de Icaza personally played in Microsoft and Novell coming to their patent deal -- a subject which we wrote about many times before (de Icaza's role was noted by Novell dissenters almost a decade ago).

Michael Meeks (formerly of Novell) wrote the other day: "Pleased to see Miguel & Nat exit to Microsoft" (direct quote).

"It's like both of them were engaged to Microsoft for a decade but only officially celebrated in a wedding ceremony (and tied the knot as the saying goes) last week."Nat had worked for Microsoft before he worked for Novell and Miguel too had visited Microsoft and loved them. For Meeks, as their former colleague (at Novell), it's easy to sympathise, but did they ever "exit"? They were always there. They have only just made it official. It's like both of them were engaged to Microsoft for a decade but only officially celebrated in a wedding ceremony (and tied the knot as the saying goes) last week.

The news about Microsoft buying Xamarin was mostly covered by the Microsoft side and Microsoft boosters, not FOSS or GNU/Linux sites. This in itself is rather telling and revealing. Oh, how things have changed! Here's Microsoft's Mouth and the Microsoft-friendly Tim Anderson covering this, the latter noting: "Remember the Nokia devices acquisition? That went well. Not"

"Microsoft now intends to use Xamarin to further its E.E.E. (embrace, extend, extinguish) agenda inside Android."Nokia was another case of Microsoft moles, notably Elop. It was designed to tear apart Linux and Nokia.

Microsoft now intends to use Xamarin to further its E.E.E. (embrace, extend, extinguish) agenda inside Android. Why? Because other such efforts, including the Cyanogen plan, are evidently failing. There's no headway. As Anderson put it in a separate article:

Microsoft has officially scrapped its Android to Windows 10 bridge, codenamed Astoria, but is forging ahead with its Objective C Windows compiler and tools for porting iOS applications.

The Android announcement was expected, as the project was apparently abandoned some months back, but the new post from Windows Developer Platform VP Kevin Gallo adds some background.


Right now Microsoft uses Miguel de Icaza to make developers defect to Windows. When Xamarin was its own company, backed by people from Microsoft, it didn't quite work out. People -- and developers in particular -- just weren't foolish enough. “De Icaza told me in the past that he’s rich,” Stephane Rodriguez told us 9 years ago, so we know that Microsoft pays such moles enough to make them do almost anything. Xamarin was an attempt to infiltrate the development world on behalf of Microsoft. Based on lack of press coverage, we very much doubt it was financially sustainable without all the VC money from Microsoft folks, who were understandably trying to keep it afloat.

"Right now Microsoft uses Miguel de Icaza to make developers defect to Windows."Overlapping the announcement of the Xamarin takeover was this important news covered in articles such as "Microsoft confirms: Android-on-Windows Astoria tech is gone", "Microsoft's plan to port Android apps to Windows is dead", "Microsoft Confirms Android-To-Windows Tool 'Project Astoria' Is Dead", and "Microsoft is ditching Android app ports for Windows Phone".

Miguel de Icaza was perhaps Microsoft's Plan B, much like Elop inside Nokia. As one Microsoft apologist put it the other day (in his headline), "Microsoft: Use Xamarin to port Android apps to Windows" (sounds like the same thing as above, except the above just got axed).

"Miguel de Icaza was perhaps Microsoft’s Plan B, much like Elop inside Nokia."Microsoft propagandists such as Simon Bisson sure are happy for Miguel de Icaza and other Microsoft saboteurs, whose goal wasn't to help either GNU/Linux or Free software but to advance Microsoft's interests and financial gain. "Embrace, extend, eat" is how this article from The Register summed it up (in its seminal report about the takeover). "Strangely patents were not mentioned," iophk wrote to us, alluding to this analogous report from Wired. To quote: "Given the number of startups that have been purchased by larger companies primarily for their engineering talent, not their products—a strategy called “acquihiring”—developers may worry that Xamarin’s technology could go away after this acquisition. Microsoft insists this isn’t the case. “This is definitely not an acquihire,” says Scott Guthrie, the executive vice president of the Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise group. “There are more than 300 people on the Xamarin team. We very much view this acquisition as an opportunity to take what they’ve built and make it a core part of our strategy.”"

It seems quote possible that Microsoft is just “acquihiring” in this case, as we noted in our first post about it. However, let's not forget that VC money for Xamarin came from former Microsoft staff (Ignition Partners), so if anyone pockets the money here, then it's them (that's like Microsoft giving money back... to Microsoft people). Groomed by Microsoft for over a decade, Xamarin is probably the last incarnation of what was Ximian, then Novell, and later Xamarin. Now it's called what it really is: Microsoft.

"We were right about Mono, Miguel de Icaza, and Xamarin, just as we were right about Novell and Nokia in the patent sense."According to this report from the New YoRk Times, "Microsoft announced on Wednesday that it was buying Xamarin, a company that helps software developers write applications for mobile devices. The price was not disclosed, but is believed to be more than $300 million."

As we often point out here, many of these figures are bogus. They're more like accounting tricks that make both the buyer and the acquired entity look bigger than they really are; it surely fools an already-gullible media when sometimes all that happens is that shares move from place to place, i.e. no money exchanges hands at all.

"Microsoft came first; what's why he was pushed away by FOSS people."All in all, the whole thing proves we were right all along. We were right about Mono, Miguel de Icaza, and Xamarin, just as we were right about Novell and Nokia in the patent sense. Miguel de Icaza has, consistently over the years, served Microsoft's agenda and now it's payday again. He hardly ever truly worked for FOSS; Now he's a Microsoft employee. Miguel de Icaza turned to Microsoft not because FOSS people pushed him away. Microsoft came first; what's why he was pushed away by FOSS people. Bruce Byfield, a longtime Novell (and Mono) apologist, gets it all in reverse in his analysis which begins thusly:

Just before I settled down to write today, I read that Microsoft had acquired Xamarin, the company founded by Miguel de Icaza and Nat Friedman. To many, the news is the logical end to a story that has been unfolding for years now, and if the first cries of, "Traitors!" have not appeared on blogs and articles, then I expect they are only a matter of time.


Perhaps Byfield can finally admit that it was us who were right all along, not him. On de Icaza, one person told me the other day: "I remember him back in ‘the day’ on IRC. he was always considered a crazy compromizer."

"In summary, Miguel gets money from Microsoft. Again."He was always like that. He didn't just magically turn out that way. In fact, a lot of this started when he tried to get hired by Microsoft, way back in the 1990s.

A decent article by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols (SJVN) says: "In 2011, Attachmate laid off the Mono team. De Icaza then founded Xamarin with an eventual total of $82-million in venture capital to give it a home."

"The future of APIs, patents and mobile-centric operating systems is at stake now."Well, money from Microsoft veterans/retirees (for the most part). It was pretty much back then that Microsoft 'bought' de Icaza; it just left him as peripheral/external because it's easier to use him as a proxy or mole that way.

In summary, Miguel gets money from Microsoft. Again. E.E.E. didn't work out this time around, but Miguel had his safety net. Now his salaries will come directly from his longtime boss (at Novell too a lot of the money came from Microsoft).

This post is not a personal attack. But since many people out there are too timid to mention names and say things as they see them, someone probably has to. Anything else is self-censorship.

If any of the above is not accurate or not correct, please point out specifically what it is. We welcome an open debate on this. The future of APIs, patents and mobile-centric operating systems is at stake now.

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