Sources also told CRN that Microsoft's carrier partners are excited about Xamarin because it can reduce the amount of support calls they deal with when customers switch phones and their apps stop working or become unavailable.
Microsoft and Xamarin last November unveiled an official partnership aimed at making it easier for developers to build native mobile apps for iOS and Android using Visual Studio. Xamarin technology is being integrated with Microsoft's development tools and Microsoft also is making Xamarin tools available to its MSDN subscribers.
Even with the partnership, some developers are hesitant to use Xamarin because it's a small company that isn't supported as part of the Microsoft ecosystem, which is why an acquisition would make sense for Microsoft, sources said.
Xamarin makes money through support subscriptions that range from $299 for individuals to $1,899 per user annually for enterprises. The San Francisco-based startup has raised $28 million in two funding rounds from Lead Edge Capital, Charles River Ventures, Floodgate and Ignition Partners.
Xamarin's co-founders, CEO Nat Friedman and CTO Miguel de Icaza, founded Ximian in 1999 and worked together to build Mono, an open-source implementation of the Microsoft .Net development framework. They joined Novell in its acquisition of Ximian in 2003 and left to start Xamarin when Attachmate bought Novell in 2011.
At Microsoft, anything is on the table right now when it comes to making money on mobile, one source familiar with the company's thinking told CRN. "There is an open-mindedness that wasn't there before, and a realization that they have to recognize the world differently," said the source, who requested anonymity.
PUBLISHED MARCH 17, 2014