10 Technology Partners Microsoft Had Front And Center At Build 20131:45 PM EST Tue. Jul. 02, 2013
Microsoft's annual Build conference focuses on developers and software engineers, equipping them with the tools necessary to bolster the company's repertoire of mobile applications and software solutions. In addition to the droves of Microsoft developers in attendance last week's conference in San Francisco, there was also a marked partner presence -- technology partners that is. Dozens of wooden booths in a designated portion of the showroom indicated the partner area, where companies handed out free t-shirts and key chains, showcased some of the more tangible products, and chatted with attendees. From 3-D printers to cloud management, the array of Microsoft's tech partner presence was broad and varied. Here's a look at 10 Microsoft technology partners that stood out at Build 2013.
Buddy specializes in back-end as a service (BaaS) and focuses on server-side coding for application developers on all operating systems. The Kirkland, Wash.-based company provides managed Web services as well as analytics surrounding use of the supported app, including demographics, location, spending habits and integration with social networks.
While not an official Microsoft technology partner, Xamarin helps developers build mobile environments for iOS, Android, and Windows. Integrated with Visual Studio, Microsoft's developer tool, Xamarin's cross-platform approach allows coders to produce device-specific apps with native user interfaces without having to re-code it all by hand for each different language.
A premium Microsoft partner, RightScale Cloud Management is a multi-cloud management software that integrates with Azure's infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platform, allowing for faster deployments to Azure across multiple cloud environments. The Santa Barbara, Calif.-based company uses customizable pre-built templates as well as links between public and private clouds to speed up the process from development to launch.
Rock Hill, S.C.-based 3D Systems made a splash last year when it debuted a new 3-D printer called the Cube, but had more news for the attendees of Build 2013: Windows 8.1 will come with embedded drivers, so users can print 3-D models directly from their device. By melting plastic strips, forced through a nozzle that traces the design sent from a 3-D imaging program and layers the plastic to a specified thickness, the Cube is able to "print" 3-D images in a matter of hours. The new plug-and-play capabilities of Windows 8.1, along with the Cubify software client program, will allow consumers to print wirelessly from the Cube, priced around $1,300, as easily as if it were a standard 2-D printer.
Infragistics focuses on the visual element of applications and creates user-interface (UI) controls for developers on various platforms. The Cranbury, N.J.-based global user experience design company builds plugins that integrate with Microsoft's Visual Studio to help developers use their controls to create touch-friendly performance apps from the UI side.
A mobile payment system application, Fortumo helps developers monetize their products with inside-app payments. By adding the charge to a user's phone bill rather than his or her credit card, Fortumo creates one-click payments that are open to anyone with a mobile device -- whether users have a credit card or not. A recent Microsoft technology partner, Fortumo hopes to help app developers reach the estimated 5 billion cell phone users around the world.
"International credit card penetration is pretty low, especially in emerging markets," said Martin Koppel, chief revenue officer and co-founder of Fortumo. "[Users] would rather put micro-transactions on top of their [phone] bill."
Twilio, a cloud communication platform, provides application program interfaces that allow software developers to build phone and SMS message functioning into their apps over VoIP and traditional phone lines. In conjunction with the cloud sharing service Box, users can add two-factor authentication to provide an extra layer of protection for enterprise customers. Through its partnership with Microsoft, Twilio also gives developers the tools to build communication functioning into their cloud apps using Windows Azure Mobile Services.
ComponentOne has sold third-party developer tools for over 20 years and is a part of Microsoft's Visual Studio Industry Partner Program. With its line of development tools that add custom controls to Microsoft's entire development stack, ComponentOne extends the functionality of Visual Studio. Web Stack, the Pittsburgh-based tech company's Web development kit, features HTML5 widgets that allow users to deploy their programs to desktop and mobile platforms with tools ranging from client- to server-side development.